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Women in Post-Communist Europe Presented By: Jennifer Finley Sarah Dargus Kim Klinger Erik Nelson Steve Lane Soviet era poster: "To Lenin's subbotnik!"

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Presentation on theme: "Women in Post-Communist Europe Presented By: Jennifer Finley Sarah Dargus Kim Klinger Erik Nelson Steve Lane Soviet era poster: "To Lenin's subbotnik!""— Presentation transcript:

1 Women in Post-Communist Europe Presented By: Jennifer Finley Sarah Dargus Kim Klinger Erik Nelson Steve Lane Soviet era poster: "To Lenin's subbotnik!" (the subbotnik was voluntary, unpaid but compulsory work on Saturdays)

2 Europe in 1970 Copyright © 1998-2000 Matthew White []Matthew White

3 Collapse of the Soviet Union Copyright © 1998-2000 Matthew White []Matthew White

4 Politics of Eastern Europe

5 During Communism Told equal, experienced something different –1981, Kiev woman article –5,002 delegates to the party congress, 1,329, or 26.6 percent, were women –319 party members elected to the new Central Committee, eight, or 2.5 percent, were women

6 During Communism Held leaderships positions, but not upper ranks Still better than the United States –1987, Eastern Europe has 26.6% women legislators –United States- 4%, Global Average- 9.7%

7 Post Communism Women’s organizations Percentage of Women in National Parliament –Bulgaria- 26% –Poland- 20% –Czech Republic- 16% –Hungary- 10% –Romania- 9% –Russian Federation- 6% –Ukraine- 5% (Women Across Cultures Appendix, 2005)-

8 “Their absence from national legislatures signals that women are not accepted as equal partners in political decision- making for the nation.” –UNIFEM’s Progress of the World’s Women report, 2002

9 Post-Communism Try for women’s lobby –Especially during transition to democracy –Still lack strength but it’s what making a difference Democracy not mean women: –Automatically participate –Have political power or say in policy making

10 Women in Politics Main Issues: –Reproductive Rights –Forced emancipation Implementation vs. formulation Some support affirmative action for women –Just because women are liberated doesn’t make them political insiders

11 Post-Communism Lack of Involvement Don’t want to lose social security gained under communism 2 jobs Passivity has historical roots –Equality given by communism but felt powerless- “had to work” Preoccupied with unemployment from transition to market economy

12 Economics of Eastern Europe

13 Economic Participation Issues women face –Privatization male dominated –Segregation in labor –Increasing salary gap –Harassment –Sex Trade Under communism –Triple burden of work, parenting, and party activism

14 Economic Participation Since 1989 14 million of the 26 million jobs that vanished in Eastern Europe were women’s Unemployment for women is an average of 5% higher than men 3/4 of unemployed are women Hiring “rules”

15 Women Across Cultures Data Country % of women in non- agricultural wage employment % of female admin./ management positions Bosnia 43N/A Croatia 4624 Czech Republic 47N/A Estonia 52N/A Hungary 4658 Latvia 53N/A Lithuania 51N/A Poland 4766 Russia 50N/A Slovenia 4823 Slovakia 5260 Ukraine 53N/A

16 “… in Eastern Europe, women's rights have never been very well defined because the assumption was that the socialist governments would establish equity embedded in the premise of their socialist policies. However, although this strategy did improve the lives of women compared to other regions of the world at the time, it did not put women on equal footing with men. Currently more is being done to promote gender equity as they join the European Economic Community (EEC) which enforces strict policies as outlined by CEDAW and the UN. Regardless, these countries have very conservative male dominated cultures, which have been slow to change.” -Cisco Learning Website

17 Issues in the Economy Men are twice as likely to start a business than women Wage discrepancies based on position disparities (Pre and Post 1989) Jobs are service oriented






23 Dominant Religions Eastern Orthodox Christianity Roman Catholicism

24 Religious Distribution Copyright © 1998-2000 Matthew White []Matthew White

25 Church Hierarchy Nowhere in Eastern Orthodox Church cannon does it state that women cannot be priests. However, women have no decision making authority on Church doctrine. “As in all churches of the holy ones, women should keep silent in the churches [namely assemblies], for they are not allowed to speak as even the law says. But if they want to learn anything they should ask their husbands at home. For it is improper for a woman to speak in the assembly.” (1 Tim. 2:8-14)

26 Black Madonna, Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa Marianism and the Roman Catholic Church -“Blessed among women” -Matka Polska -Polish Roman Catholic Pilgrimages to Czestochowa

27 Social Issues Divorce -In Russia, 12,000 women die from domestic abuse annually. Abortion -In Poland, the Catholic Church changed the constitutional philosophy to the right to life. Social Services -The Catholic Church campaigned in Poland to defend aid for poor.

28 Family Life in Eastern Europe

29 Divorce Bulgaria: Both wife and husband have an equal right to claim marriage dissolution. No prohibition against wife entering anew marriage for a certain time after dissolution. In cases of divorce or marriage annulment, the right to an allowance is given only to the spouse who is not guilty, not connected to gender. Bulgarian legislation has no provisions of different rights and obligations. Czech Republic: Divorce must be a mutual decision between husband and wife. Marriage cannot be dissolved if it neglects best interest of children. Divorce laws have liberalized slightly in recent years. Russian Federation: Marriage may be terminated by dissolution on the application of one or both spouses. Without the wife’s consent the husband is not entitled to initiate dissolution proceedings while she is pregnant or for one year after the birth of a child Poland: Each spouse may demand the pronouncement of separation in the event of a complete breakdown of the marriage. Separation has identical consequences as divorce, this solution was introduced as an option for Roman Catholics who did not want to get a divorce – considered a sin by their church.

30 Marriage Bulgaria: Mutual consent required for marriage; minimum age is 18 with exception of permission of court at age 16. Equal naming rights in marriages; legally, spouses have equal rights and obligations. Woman not obligated to follow husband. Czech Republic: Equality of men and women in marriage is articulated by law, however lingering attitudes still hold women as playing a more important role in care of the family and household, with the husband as the “breadwinner.” Russian Federation: Marriage is mutually consented; both spouses are recognized as equals under the law. The family rights of citizens may be restricted only by federal law and only to the extent necessary for the protection of the moral well-being, health, rights and legitimate interests of other members of the family and of other citizens. Poland: Laws closely resemble those of Bulgaria.

31 Property Rights The moment of entering into a marriage a man and woman have equal property rights. Reflects the principle of equality of a woman with a man in marriage. In general, the property rights’ laws are gender neutral.

32 Abortion Bulgaria: Abortion allowed to protect mothers life and in cases of fetal defects. All other causes are only legal if performed within 1 st or 2 nd trimester. Czech Republic: Stricter abortion laws, but still legal if done within 1 st and in some cases 2 nd trimester. Russian Federation: Slightly more lax than Czech Republic, most cases of abortion are allowed during the 2 nd trimester. Poland: Most abortions are legal to perform, but not allowed for socio- economic purposes.

33 Domestic Violence Bulgaria: In the last decade, Bulgaria has begun to acknowledge domestic violence as a major problem. But, with no laws on the books and only a handful of organizations working to aid victims, battered women have few places to turn. Czech Republic: Until 2003, Czech criminal code did not allow for effective recourse in cases of domestic violence. Up to that point, domestic violence was only charged as a common misdemeanor. Through public education campaigns, the problem is addressed through legislation and public awareness. Russian Federation: Figures released by Russian women's non- governmental organizations claim that women’s right to life and freedom from violence are threatened on a daily basis. Their right to physical, mental and sexual integrity is denied. Every day, 36,000 women in the Russian Federation are beaten by their husbands or partners. Poland: Annually, around 23,000 cases of domestic violence crimes in Poland. In 2004, 310 persons died in consequence of “family conflicts”. 6 percent of Polish people experience ongoing domestic violence, but 12 percent admit they were hit by their partners at least once. 20 percent of the Poles admit that they beat their children

34 Women’s Healthcare in Eastern Europe

35 Women’s Health in Post-Communism Demographic Shocks have direct correlation to the “historic change from Soviet totalitarianism to a commercial democracy.” -Nicholas Eberstadt, Russia, the sick man of Europe Involuntary Infertility -“13 percent of all married Russian couples of childbearing age are infertile” - National Center for Health Statistics -inadequate healthcare: shortage of medical supplies -Surgical procedures are “less-than-exemplary standards of Soviet and Post-Soviet medicine.” -David Anderson, International Union for the Scientific Study of Populations

36 Healthcare in Post-Communist Europe Hospitals: -Soviet physicians are capable of practicing after only two years of formal training and a “shocking number of doctors could not perform basic medical procedure.” –Russian Medical Services -Doctors underpaid: -bribes -privatization of hospitals: out of reach of ordinary citizen Copyright © 1992-2006 McKinsey & Company, Inc.

37 The Effects of Poor Healthcare on Women? Abortion: –Unavailability of non- surgical sexual contraception –Expect more abortions than live births -1989 Soviet Union Russian women underwent 2 abortions for every 1 live birth -2002 Russian Federation women underwent over 120 abortions for every 100 live births -Socialist-Democratic transition? - increase infertility without an alternative to proper reproductive health

38 Healthcare: HIV/AIDS “The long isolation under Communism had sheltered us from the sort of HIV/AIDS outbreak that had afflicted the United States, Europe, and Africa in the late 1980’, however, the arrival of heroin in mass quantities changed that picture.” –Susan Glasser, Kremlin Rising - the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the Russian Federation has exploded within 5 years of its arrival to fatal numbers that took the U.S. two decades to reach A child in Russia made this Stop AIDS poster during a lesson attended by AVERT director Annabel

39 HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe Stigmatized: drug users and prostitutes Moved into the mainstream population: reliance on abortions = more infections Continues the growing infertility of East European women AIDS prevention poster reading 'HIV is NOT transmitted through sport,‘ Reproduced courtesy of UNAIDS

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