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Equality through Protection: The Politics of Women's Employment in Postwar Poland, 1945-1956

Malgorzata Fidelis
Slavic Review
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Summer, 2004), pp. 301-324
DOI: 10.2307/3185730
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3185730
Page Count: 24
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Equality through Protection: The Politics of Women's Employment in Postwar Poland, 1945-1956
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Abstract

In this article, Malgorzata Fidelis analyzes the role of gender in postwar Polish employment policies and shop floor culture and casts a new light on east European Stalinism and de-Stalinization. Focusing on the reconstruction and implementation of protective labor legislation for women, Fidelis argues that the communist definition of gender was a recast version of the western liberal notion of immutable sexual difference positioned in the body. At the same time, Polish society participated in defining gender at the site of production, most visibly in the de-Stalinization backlash against women, who had entered male-dominated skilled jobs in heavy industry under Stalinism. The party-state's use of women's reproductive function as a justification to remove women from men's jobs suggests that east European de-Stalinization needs to be reexamined in light of its different meaning for women and men.

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