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Gender Equality Through Women's Agency in state socialist Poland and Georgia

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Gender equality in state socialist Europe

Using interdisciplinary research methods, a cross-national study of state socialist gender equality helped broaden the definition of the European women's movements and gender equality in Europe.

Climate Change and Environment

The struggle for women's rights is ongoing. Within the former Soviet bloc in particular, a number of factors contributed to the diverse nature of current state socialist gender equality regimes. Some of these factors include cultural traditions, pre-socialist gender systems and ethnic differences. A much-needed critical social movement theory on women under socialism is developing. For this to flourish, exploring modern gender notions in EU Member States such as Poland and Associated Countries like Georgia is crucial. That is just what the EU-funded 'Gender equality through women's agency in state socialist Poland and Georgia' (GETWA) project has done. Until the last few decades, Georgia and Poland were under authoritarian regimes and thus had limited access to international networking. The GETWA project focused on the gender regimes in Georgia (1921–1990) and Poland (1945–1989), and used interdisciplinary research methods such as oral history, institutional ethnography, textual analysis and archival work. The aims were to bridge the gap in understanding gender disruption and discontinuity between socialist and post-socialist states. Also, rethinking the concept of women's agency under state socialism and generating a more comprehensive understanding of state socialist gender equality were part of the project's main agenda. Key project objectives were achieved. Some of these included collecting data on state socialist women's agency, developing research questionnaires for interviews and archiving library research. Main results included an analysis of Georgian and Polish women's agency using interdisciplinary research methodology and reconceptualising the notion of women's agency under state socialism. Furthermore, global and transnational women's movements can now be looked at in a new way, illustrating that socialist states serve as a site for development. Project work has social significance as it contributes to the critical social movement theory on women's agency under socialism. Its results can serve to influence policymaking in the areas of women's participation in politics, and collaboration between government and non-governmental sectors.


Gender equality, state socialist, women's movements, women under socialism, women's agency

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