chapter  1
6 Pages

Women’s work: an overview

The twentieth century saw three significant eras of radical reform of the agriculture that drastically changed the lives of peasant women. The first significant change came with the Decree on Land of 1917 that stipulated an equal redistribution of land among peasants (and by default also the confiscation of land from those who had more than the allowed norm). The second change came with the forced collectivization during the campaigns of the 1930s, which were marked by the significant use of force and the destruction of prevailing lifestyles, and even mentality, in the countryside. The final drastic change came in the midst of the Soviet Union’s breakup and post-Soviet transformation in the early 1990s. The final campaign sought to alter the Soviet system of agricultural production that was deemed “failed.” Yet this was precisely the system that had become familiar to collective farmworkers who were born and raised into it. At the very least, these rural residents became accustomed to and counted on an extensive social security network that existed in the last decades of the Soviet power.