chapter  12
15 Pages

Class and gender

One of the paradoxes of the Soviet system was that the abolition of private property in the means of production, considered by Marxists to be the main source of exploitation, did not eliminate inequality or hierarchy. New sources of economic, social and political inequality rapidly emerged whose causes and operation, and indeed whose very existence, were long denied by Soviet commentators. The nationalisation of economic life itself gave rise to new forms of stratification. At the same time, while the exploitative relations of capitalism might have been abolished, social relations remained stamped by hierarchy and inequalities. This was nowhere more apparent than in relations between the sexes. While capitalism might have been abolished, patriarchy remained deep-rooted.