Gender and work in Soviet Russia : the medical profession
Despite proclamations of equality, the Soviet workplace was characterised by patterns of gender segregation. Across the economy, women were concentrated into the least prestigious and lowest paid occupations and within occupational groupings, positions of authority tended to be reserved for men. This thesis focuses on the medical profession in order to outline the nature of gender inequality in work in Soviet Russia. The medical profession was a predominantly female occupation, and yet was characterised by a gender hierarchy by specialisation and qualifications. This thesis provides a detailed account of this hierarchy and argues that a description of such patterns is only a partial picture. It is also important to provide an explanation. Based on the analysis of Soviet press and academic sources and research among female doctors in Russia, this thesis develops the argument that gender inequality in Soviet Russia should be understood in relation to the state's strategy for social reproduction and the contradictions that women's labour posed for this. Women were regarded as essential for both production and biological reproduction, yet their participation in both was often contradictory for the system as a whole. It was also often contradictory for the women themselves and their reactions to state policy were simultaneously shaped by and acted to shape such policy. In this way, by providing an analysis of gender inequality in work in Soviet Russia it is possible then to develop a clearer understanding of the nature and extent of the changes taking place in the current period of transition.