Gender Roles from a Cross-Cultural Perspective
Helen Mayer Hacker Previously unpublished
In an earlier portion of this volume the legacy of American gender roles from Europe and ancient civilizations was examined. It is now time to shift our focus to consider current developments in the social roles of women and men in societies other than our own. Viewing variations in gender-role patterning will help to counter the tendency to confuse American gender-role definitions with what is right or “natural.” Ideas concerning feminine delicacy, for example, would not survive the observation of women in India carrying loads of bricks on their heads to building-construction sites, nor would the attribution to women of greater emotionality and intuition hold up in Iran, where men are expected to be sensitive and poetic and women practical and logical. A look at other cultures may also disclose some universals, as well as alternatives, in gender roles that challenge explanation. If the things that men do are everywhere held in higher esteem than women’s activities, the question of causation arises. That is, do men arrogate to themselves the more prestigious work, or does the higher status of the job stem simply from the fact that it is performed by men? Either answer, of course, requires additional explanation.
Further, intensive analysis of particular societies yields insight into the factors that shape and sustain gender roles. It increases our knowledge of the interrelationships among social institutions that tend to keep things as they are and, conversely, the stresses and strains that make for social change.
On the practical side, social reformers may profit from the experiences of other countries, both in assessing the possibilities for change in the United States and in devising suitable strategies for effecting such change.
For the purpose of placing gender roles in cross-cultural perspective, the nations of the world can be divided into two types: planned and unplanned. The more familiar usage of the word “planned” is in regard to the economy, but in the present context the term refers to a conscious attempt on the part of the government to change the traditional roles of the sexes in implementation of an ideology of sex equality. Modifications of gender roles may be occurring in other countries as a consequence of industrialization, urbanization, efforts at population control, or other factors, but since these changes may be viewed primarily as byproducts of other processes, we do not consider them here.
Although differing in governmental form, official ideology, degree of industrialization, per capita income, and many other ways, the Israeli kibbutzim, the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and Sweden have in common their expressed commitment to the liberation of women. None of these attempts as yet has succeeded. Why? Is it because such efforts are foredoomed to failure, or because of special circumstances that can be overcome in the future? We must analyze each case in tum.
The founders of the Israeli kibbutz movement more than sixty years ago were devoted to the principles of social and economic equality, including equality between men and women. To implement the socialist dictum of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” collective ownership of the land and other means of production was instituted, and all members shared equally in the joint income. Women were freed from economic as well as legal and social dependence upon a husband. To facilitate their equal participation in the collective work, communal dining rooms, laundry and clothing-repair services, and childcare facilities were established. In the one room occupied by a married couple, housekeeping was reduced to the minimum, and what simple tasks remained were shared by husband and wife.
Parental role differentiation also reached almost the vanishing point. Within one week of delivery the baby was placed in a “baby house,” sharing a room with three or four other infants as close to its age as possible, and in the care of a “metapelet”—in effect a professional mother. (It should be noted that men are not assigned to childcare.) Although the biological mother breastfeeds her baby and both parents visit regularly, the main portion of the socializing process, including the disciplinary function, is assumed by the metapelet. The natural parents provide only nurturance and affection. Since the father has been stripped of his patriarchal role, he provokes no ambivalent feelings in his children. He is only a loving playmate and friend, to be admired for his productive role in the community. More hostility may be felt toward the mother, who, by virtue of her sex, is partially identified with the metapelet, who does command and punish. This situation presents an interesting role reversal from the stereotyped conception of Europe, with its emphasis on the mother-child bond.
Thus, childrearing practices in the early days of the kibbutzim present two interesting innovations: the downplaying of the maternal role, and the dedifferentiation of the maternal and paternal functions. With regard to the first, there has been an ongoing controversy concerning the importance of a constant maternal figure in infancy and early childhood. René Spitz and John Bowlby are representative of those social scientists who attach great importance to mothering and find “maternal deprivation”1 to be a significant factor in the mental retardation and psychological impairment of institutionalized children. On the other hand, some psychologists, such as Bruno Bettelhelm, have averred that the vital aspect of “constancy” is the provision of challenges and satisfactions in the light of a common value system, especially as mediated by the metapelet and peer group, rather than a fixed number of persons who take care of the child.2 Many kinds of evidence point to the successful outcome of collective childrearing in Israel, including personality assessments of various kinds and the signal contributions the kibbutzniks have made to the development of the country and their disproportionate representation in positions of leadership.
The second issue centers on the necessity of parental role differentiation for the correct gender-role identification and emotional adjustment of the child. Talcott Parsons is the leading sociological exponent of the view that “the mother figure is always the more permissive and supportive, the father more denying and demanding.”3 Presumably the mother’s indulgence gives the child emotional security, while the father’s setting of achievement standards equips him to cope effectively with the world of reality. Philip Slater, however, has argued that such differentiation may lead to conflicts in the self-perceptions of the child, with dysfunctional consequences for both him and the society as a whole.4 It should also be noted that correct gender-role identification becomes less problematic in societies lacking a strong demarcation of adult gender roles.
Recent reports from Israel, however, indicate that parents, especially mothers, are making inroads on collective childrearing. They are seeking more time with their children and want them to sleep at home after the age of three. This trend is particularly marked in the “Anglo-Saxon,” more affluent, and right-wing kibbutzim. In all, about 30 out of 280 kibbutzim have shifted in the direction of greater emphasis on the nuclear family. In line with this reversion to traditionality is a growing tendency to take meals at home, to accumulate consumer goods, to elaborate homemaking as mainly the wife’s responsibility, and for women to seek to enhance their sex appeal in dress, grooming, and cosmetics and to diminish their participation in committee work and collective decision-making. More important, the lines between men’s and women’s work have become more sharply drawn. Men predominate in the “productive” or income-yielding branches while women are engaged in the necessary but less prestigious service jobs in the kitchen, laundry, and clothing areas. They also monopolize the early education of the children, a sector that has grown in importance and carries considerable prestige, though little power. The nature of women’s work denies them access to the experience and knowledge requisite for economic policy-making.
Such an outcome, given the structural arrangements originally made to overcome the occupational division between men and women and the professed egalitarianism of the founding generation, was unanticipated. Popular opinion supposes a female retreat from equality, but it would be more accurate to characterize this development as a retreat from the ideal of women doing “masculine” work. Although a few men occasionally worked in the services, there was never any wholesale commitment to the concept of role interchangeability. Rather, the emphasis was on changing women’s roles without any corresponding change in men’s roles. If we accept the proposition that a superficial version of equality was imposed on an underlying traditional gender-role imagery, that only the semblance rather than the reality of equality between the sexes existed in the pioneer stage, then the problem becomes one of explaining the sequence of events that led to the present situation rather than why the kibbutz failed in one of its avowed aims. Two basic perspectives—the biological and the sociological—are once again in conflict.
The first takes its cue from William Graham Sumner’s famous essay “The Absurd Effort to Make the World Over,” in which he asserts that social engineering cannot override “human nature.”5 In other words, woman’s maternal instinct crushed to earth will rise again. The kibbutzim, so the argument runs, represented a noble experiment in sex equality, which flouted the biological basis of gender-role differentiation and thus could be maintained only in crisis conditions. The most modern and sophisticated protagonist of this point of view is Steven Goldberg,6 who explains the “failure” of the kibbutz to challenge successfully the universal gender-role distinctions as stemming from biological factors, manifested, for example, in women’s lower distress threshold for a baby’s crying. If women are more strongly committed to child welfare than men are, one need not even invoke men’s greater aggression, deriving from testosterone, to account for their usurpation of dominant political and economic positions.
According to this line of reasoning, the women pioneers never fully shared the ideological commitment of the men, but were brainwashed by them. They accepted the collective childrearing arrangements, contrary to their heart’s desires, because their work was urgently needed for community survival and because it is the essence of femininity to want to please men. But then, when circumstances permitted, their submerged natural bent could be expressed. True, this re-emergence may not have occurred until the second or even third generation of kibbutzniks, but in a kind of return of the repressed, the older, European-born generation passed on the covert message to the young.
Indeed, adherents of the “natural differences” school explain the temporary abrogation of the primacy of men’s provider role and women’s maternal role as necessitated by the struggle for survival, in which labor resources had to be maximized. Women’s sharing of heavy agricultural work with men was predicated on the relative scarcity of children. As the kibbutzim became economically and militarily more secure, two interrelated developments served to reintroduce the old polarization of labor between the sexes. First, the shift from an economy of necessity to one of comparative “luxury” made expansion of the services possible, and it was “natural” for women, rather than men, to be drawn into these branches. Second, the stability of the kibbutz both permitted and required an increase in the birthrate. The advent of children encouraged and expressed a familistic trend which further reinforced women’s absorption in domestic and childcare activities. In addition, there was a growing tension between family and community as the kibbutzim became larger and more differentiated, and it was no longer so feasible to maintain the primary ties and camaraderie of a small, dedicated group. The growing proportion of children in the total membership enhanced the importance of education, which was considered an appropriate field for the expression of women’s professional aspirations and served to contain any discontent they might feel as a result of their exclusion from top positions in the productive branches. The conclusion from the experience of the kibbutz is that the familial roles that were once imposed upon women, and only temporarily suspended, now come to be their free choice.
The sociological perspective considers, among other things, aspects of the value system that the pioneers sought to implement in their regained homeland. Of central importance was the elevation of manual over intellectual work and the higher prestige accorded the “productive” as compared to the “service” branches. Although at first women worked in the fields and orchards along with the men, they were gradually relegated to the communal kitchen, laundry, and nursery. This development was rationalized on the grounds of men’s greater physical strength and, particularly in those kibbutzim near the frontiers, the need for field workers to take up arms at a moment’s notice.
This approach tries to identify the key social factors in the transition from rough equality to the present differentiation of the sexes. It attempts to specify the “turning points” and the precise nature of the interplay between structural and attitudinal changes. Menachem Rosner7 is representative of the school of thought that stresses the importance of images, conscious or unconscious, held by men and women concerning the aptitudes and inclinations of the two sexes. His contention is that no transformation of consciousness took place in the founding generation.
It is probable that the first generation of women resented being excluded from men’s occupations; the second generation does not want to be part of the masculine world. An amusing twist to women’s renewed interest in personal appearance is given in Edwin Samuel’s The Structure of Society in Israel (New York: Random House, 1969), p. 150: “At one time kibbutz women, in their puritanical fervor, despised frills, jewelry, even makeup. Now each established kibbutz has a well-equipped beauty parlor. Kibbutz stores stock cosmetics, on the theory that a woman’s femininity and beauty are weapons in her fight for equality in a world dominated by men. Women see no reason why they should be unarmed.” Samuel leaves unclear whether women are using sex appeal to wage war on the traditional home front or in the public domain, where they have always been accused of not competing like gentlemen. He brings no empirical evidence to bear upon this point. This generation sees no point in pretending to an equality that it does not have and that is not very rewarding, while losing the advantages of traditional femininity.
Rae Lesser Blumberg pinpoints the arrival of male, childless immigrants as the factor that promoted the erosion of sex equality in the kibbutz.8 She argues that given the disparity in prestige between the productive and the service branches, the kibbutzim might have adopted a principle of seniority whereby the newcomers would enter at the bottom of the ladder. If these men had been assigned to the kitchen and the laundry, then the women they supplanted could have returned to the fields and other “productive” tasks. Such a step was not taken, according to Blumberg, because the new immigrants were overeducated for the jobs available in the kibbutz and could be lured only on the basis of their ideological commitment, an ideology that glorified tractors rather than pots and pans. The young mothers whom they displaced were already committed to the kibbutz and, moreover, had hostages to it in the form of children. The question naturally arises as to why immigrant young men rather than young women had to be propitiated. The answer would have to invoke traditional gender roles in the rest of the world whereby males are more likely than females to embark on autonomous courses of action.
Blumberg’s hypothesis overlooks the possibility that men as well as women could have been directed to the services to make room for the newcomers.9
Ideology in and of itself must be activated by real events in the real world. Given the psychological outlook of both sexes in regard to the aptitudes of the sexes, the official ideology of sex equality might have prolonged the initial sharing of the income-producing branches had it not been for certain types of events, both imminent and external.
The “privatization of women,” then, represented a protective mechanism against greater inroads on their free time, already less than men’s, and against unequal odds in competing with men. The women’s struggle became one of the “transvaluation of values,” of upgrading the castle as contrasted to the counting house. Jobs defined as primarily feminine should bring the same rewards as their masculine counterparts. The slogan became “equality of value achievement” or “equality of satisfaction,” which implies recognition of a sexual division of labor. “Feminine” jobs might be in the collective services, but femininity might be even better upheld and revalued in the domestic domain.
It is evident that the kibbutz has not achieved its aim of equality of opportunity for men and women, although it has more nearly approximated this goal than any previous attempt has. Its shortcomings need not be attributed to the unachieveability of sexual equality but, rather, to specific social factors present at the outset in the settlements, coupled with subsequent developments. The chief factor was the identification of equality with the masculinization of both sexes. The ability of women to perform successfully in “masculine” pursuits depends upon the level of technological development, negating the importance of physical strength and the extent to which women are constrained by child rearing. Any other impediments to women’s equality are imposed by the value system of the society.
With respect to broad social change, including modifications in gender roles, Chinese history can be divided roughly into three periods: “traditional” China, China under Westernizing influences, beginning even under the Ch’ing dynasty toward the close of the nineteenth century and lasting through the establishment of the Republic in 1911 and the rule of the Kuomintang, and finally the Maoist regime, which came to power in 1949. It is a mistake to think of the Communist Revolution as initiating fundamental reforms in the family and the economy, but it did represent the first intensive use of political power and social influence to implement proclaimed policy.10
In thinking about China one must take care not to confuse the lifestyle of the minority gentry class with that of the great bulk of the Chinese peasantry. Few of the latter were able to realize the Confucian ideal of the many-generational extended family unified in a household economy living in the shadow of ancestors. Rather, their meager resources restricted the peasants to small nuclear families not unlike the American household farm families of the last century.
But whether born into the gentry or the peasantry, the Chinese woman has been called “the unhappiest creature on earth.” Whatever her social class, throughout the persistence of the traditional family system for about two thousand years, she was completely subservient to men from birth to death. Indeed, suicide was her only mode of protest and escape. It is interesting to note that in The Dream of the Red Chamber, a famous novel written in the late eighteenth century, almost a dozen of the female characters die young, the aristocrats wasting away because of broken hearts, and the servants killing themselves because of “dishonor” or in devotion to a deceased mistress. All the male characters survive, and the one woman who tries to lead an independent life by becoming a nun is abducted and sold into prostitution.
Let us compare the life chances of two archetypal females. The birth of a girl into a peasant home was no occasion for rejoicing. Indeed, in hard times she might not even be allowed to survive, either killed outright or neglected in childhood. Even the anticipated bride price might not warrant the cost of her maintenance. She was put to work as heavy as she could bear as early as possible and received no schooling. In times of famine or debt she might be sold into slavery or placed in the home of her future husband, whose family was thereby spared the bride price for their son. Similar circumstances might cause her husband to sell or pawn her in later life. In addition to sharing backbreaking labor in the fields, she had the further burden of producing children and taking care of them and the home. Owning nothing in her own right, the woman was herself a chattel. She owed unquestioning obedience and fidelity to her husband, though he might take other women at will. She also had to endure beating and brutality without complaint. Even if she did not suffer at the hands of her husband, she might be raped or otherwise abused by the landlord. These were the experiences that the women of rural China were encouraged to relate in the “Speak Bitterness” sessions organized in the 1940s by the Eighth Route (Communist) Army in an effort to revolutionize the roles of women and to arouse their support for the Communist Revolution.11
In comparison to the gentry, though, the peasant girl had greater opportunities for contact with men outside the family and for exploring the world with unbound feet. Most revealing in this regard is the beautiful anonymous love story “Six Chapters from a Floating Life,” in which the hero defies convention by dressing his wife as a man so that she may accompany him in his travels, ascending mountains and visiting temples and gazing at the moon. Lacking such male conspiratorial help, the gentry-born woman may have been spared physical drudgery and even permitted to while away her leisure hours in writing poetry, but her physical world was circumscribed and her psychological servitude complete. Though in early childhood she may have basked in the tender warmth of her own family, she was early thrust out in an arranged marriage to a strange man whose first loyalty was to his own family and who inevitably sided with his mother in any conflict between her and his wife. Indeed, conjugal love posed a threat to the solidarity of the patrilineal family, in which only men were linked by important kinship ties. The young bride who came as a stranger into her husband’s home could be divorced if she did not please his family. Her position became more secure when she bore a male child, but it was essentially one of “put up or shut up.” She could not even count on economic security because of her complete dependence on her husband, who by caprice or extravagance might reduce the family to ruin.12 At best she could look forward to becoming a mother-in-law herself, with dominion over her sons’ hapless wives. Even in this role her authority in supervising the household was only delegated by a husband who was occupied with more important pursuits, or, if she was widowed, by the indulgence of other males in the family. And whatever her age, a widow had small possibility of remarriage.
The contrast between the two classes of women has been well put by Ray Baber:
The Chinese lady did not soil her hands with labor, but she was actually much less free than the coolie’s wife who labored by his side and of necessity had privileges not available to the lady behind the curtains. But each was doing what man told her to, whether pulling a plow side-by-side with a beast or making her body beautiful to please her lord.13
The hierarchical structure of old China according to generation, age, and sex, in which everyone progressed through his prescribed stations in life, began to be shaken by the impact of the Western world about the middle of the last century. Chinese students who had studied abroad came back with new ideas about democracy, liberalism, science, and the rights of youth and women. Foreign missionaries diffused Western outlooks in hospitals, schools, and churches. Most important, once China had been opened to foreign trade, industrial development began, bringing in its wake rationalistic, matter-of-fact attitudes toward life. Women, as well as men, were drawn into the factories in urban centers. Their new work roles required some education and an end to footbinding.
In this transitional period the physical as well as role segregation of men and women began to be eroded. The sexes, both married and unmarried, mixed in recreation. Chinese women became enthusiastic about cosmetics, new coiffures, and clothes designed to display their physical charms. A feminist movement emerged, symbolized by Madame Sun Yat-sen. Women’s new economic contributions gave them a stronger voice in family affairs, but they also acquired many of the problems and burdens of Western women, such as chief responsibility for the care of children. (In old China the education of sons had been a paternal responsibility.)
These processes were accelerated by the overthrow of the Ch’ing dynasty, when the leaders of the new republic called upon the Chinese people to enter the twentieth century. The Kuomintang, the main political party of the republic of China, founded chiefly by Sun Yat-sen in 1911 and led since 1925 by Chiang Kaishek, promulgated many laws to improve the position of women and young people, including freedom of mate choice, increased rights of divorce for women, and elimination of footbinding, concubinage, child labor, and female slavery. The extent to which the new laws were implemented is another question.
Following the Communist seizure of power in 1949, a policy of sex equality was pursued with force and fervor as part of a concerted effort to break with the past domination of the traditional “li,” or customary obligations, which subordinated the young to the old, both within and between generations, and women to men. No longer was the female to be subject to her father in childhood, her husband in marriage, and her son in widowhood. The Communist Family Law of May 1, 1950, was intended to bring family patterns into line with the new system of production and ownership.
Although the emancipation of women and youth was undoubtedly a part of the Communist ethos in its own right, the dominant consideration was the creation of an independent, mobile work force to make agriculture more productive, speed industrialization, and build socialism. The hedonistic ethic of the republican period was to be supplanted by a selfless dedication to the goals of the Communist regime. Thus, early marriage was frowned upon, not only as a measure of population control, but also to prolong the period of study and work untrammeled by family obligations. Women were encouraged to enter the labor force and to participate with men in political and economic decision-making, but for the good of the country, not primarily as a mode of self-expression. Comradely rather than romantic relationships between the sexes were encouraged. Sexual abstinence prior to late marriage was expected and largely obtained. In contrast to the transitional period, self-adornment of women was deplored and a unisex costume adopted.14
Certainly women are not regarded as sex objects in Communist China, nor do they suffer from a double standard of sexual morality. Discrimination against children born out of wedlock is legally forbidden, and both mother and father are held responsible for the care and maintenance of the child. Official policy calls for equality in employment opportunities and equal pay for equal work. The need for professionally trained workers has enabled women to overcome prejudice in filling formerly masculine positions.15 The rise of paraprofessionals, such as “barefoot doctors,” has also benefited women, helping them to make up for their educational handicaps in comparison to men in programs of rapid and intensive training.16
But with all these great leaps forward, can it be said that women and men are now equal in China? Consider first the relative economic status of the sexes; although women are employed in many formerly male jobs on all skill levels and constitute half of all the doctors, a sexual division of labor still obtains. Most tedious, no mechanized factory work is done by women. It is considered only natural that all the nursery and kindergarten teachers are women, and by the same token women are underrepresented in the more prestigious professions, most notably in university teaching, nor do women hold the leadership positions in the professions. Whether they will attain them once the educational lag is overcome remains to be seen. Further, as in the United States, women form an industrial reserve army and are the first to be laid off when employment drops. Then of course, as happened in 1962, the wife reverts to her traditional homemaking role.
Despite the principle of equal pay for equal work, women earn less than men throughout China. This differential in reward results from the “work points” system, whereby the kinds of jobs men perform, particularly hard manual labor, receive more points than the work women do.
Turning to the home, we find that even though men help, women do more housework. In order to free women for productive work outside the home, the government initiated a program of nurseries and mess halls in both the factories and rural communes. Needless to say, “aunties,” not “uncles,” take care of babies in the nursing rooms of the factories. A few 24-hour-a-day nurseries have been established where children may stay until the age of seven, when they return home to enter primary school. These auxiliary services, however, do not begin to cover the millions of babies in China, and the Chinese wife and mother is still pinpointed as the person responsible for home and children. Though she is encouraged to work and to be active politically, the double burden becomes her patriotic duty.
The obvious consequence is that women cannot compete economically with men and that employers, in addition to their active discrimination, have a rational basis in terms of higher rates of turnover and absenteeism for preferring men. While women’s marital power has been increased by their economic contribution to the home, no real concessions have been asked of the Chinese husband. If his wife does not cook his meals, he may eat in the public mess hall, but he is not required to lose face by performing any traditionally feminine services. Goode suggests that Chinese women would not have been so willing to accept the new burden of work if they had already enjoyed the advantages of Western women, who, by remaining at home in traditional activities, enjoy far more social and material benefits and far fewer disadvantages than their Chinese sisters”17 He concludes that although ideological egalitarianism has gone farther in China than in most Western societies, the family will be retained, and that while female tasks may be upgraded, they will remain as always: laundry, food preparation, care of children, and so forth. In short, the Chinese family system and sex-role allocation will approximate those of the West. Goode’s reasoning appears to be that a family system is required as an emotional haven and social support in any society, particularly a modern industrialized economy, whether authoritarian or bureaucratic. He implies, without supplying a theoretical rationale, that retention of the family is a bar to sex equality.18
Official policy in regard to women in China has taken a zigzag course, reflecting the recognition of popular resistance and changing perceptions of social and economic needs. In the early days of the Revolution, from about 1949 to 1955, women’s rights were emphasized. They were to show themselves the equals of men in work, to marry for love or throw off unwanted husbands of arranged marriages, to become mistresses of their own fate. During this period labor heroines who vied with men in skill and accomplishments were held up as models. By 1954, however, governmental cognizance of male resistance, women’s reluctance to accept work assignments and leave their children in nurseries, the disruption of family life by the rash of divorces, and the dearth of desirable jobs for urban women led to a reaffirmation of women’s family roles as prerequisite to building socialism. Free love and self-fulfillment in work were denounced as bourgeois. On the other hand, complete absorption in motherhood and housewifery to the exclusion of political participation and study was also excoriated as feudal. A “socialist” home would be run with economy and diligence, permitting both spouses to play a fuller part in society. Harmony between the marital partners would flow from correct political views rather than from love or romance. Such harmony was not to be achieved, however, by the wife’s deference to the superior political acumen of her husband; in the words of a report from Moscow, husbands and wives were to “build themselves up ideologically by battering one another with criticism.”19 The Soviet newspaper Nedelva further quoted the Chinese press as advocating “a permanent atmosphere of ideological struggle” and dismissing love as a “psychopathic occupation that wastes time and energy.”
Mao’s tactic for reconciling women’s two roles was the “Great Leap Forward” into communes in both city and countryside. In the rural communes women were assigned the lighter, more menial agricultural chores so that men might be freed for heavier productive labor. In the urban communes women were organized in “housewives’ factories” or “satellite enterprises” around the state factories, where they performed nonmechanized tasks, such as making small crates from old pieces of wood. Although women were paid less than men, for the first time they received their wages directly, not through their husbands. The communes gave women new feelings of self-respect and self-confidence, but, in marked contrast to the kibbutz, the lack of concern for social relations prevented them from becoming an adequate substitute for family life.
By 1962 it was acknowledged that neither work nor collectivized services had liberated Chinese women. In fact, the majority were not only still home-oriented but tainted by Western materialism. The release from Moscow quoted above further reports that “Chinese wives had been acting in an especially bourgeois fashion by worrying about food and clothes instead of ideology and Mao TseTung’s thoughts.” The Party changed its focus from women’s rights to women’s attitudes.20 In fighting imperialism and building socialism the “woman question” would disappear. Thus the Cultural Revolution initiated in 1966 enlisted women in the “true revolution” which “does not differ according to sex.”
What is noteworthy in China’s history so far is that women are told what they should be, and only 10 percent of the Party’s Central Committee, as of September 1973, are female. Leadership in the army, industry, the university, and political committees is still largely male, and popular attitudes still find women better suited by nature to jobs that represent extensions of their traditional homemaking activities. Those women who do occupy leadership positions are largely confined to authority over other women. Moreover, they are young women who have grown up since the Revolution. Yet although Chinese women are far from equal with men, they have made tremendous strides, and in comparison with the “bitter past,” their accomplishments give many a feeling of exhilaration.
The Soviet Union
In assessing the present status of Russian women and probable future trends, it is necessary to consider, as with mainland China, the “bitter past” of prerevolutionary days, the influence of Marxist ideology, and the changing economic, political, and military needs of the country.21 Again, one must make distinctions among the various social classes of Russia.
As in China, peasants made up the vast majority of the Russian population, and until 1860 most of them were serfs attached to the land of their lord. Although both sexes shared a life of unremitting labor, women bore the additional burden of complete subservience to their husbands and were expected to endure their drunkenness and beatings without complaint. Among the well-to-do peasantry the extended patriarchal family was common, in which the wife came to live in her father-in-law’s household, and both spouses were subject to his despotic decisions. Here, too, the wife suffered harassment from her mother-in-law. Marriages were arranged to consolidate property rather than to fulfill personal preferences, and girls, even more than boys, could be married without their consent. The situation is reminiscent of China except that the moral underpinning was provided by Tsarist law and the Greek Orthodox Church rather than the Confucian code and ancestor worship.
Among the poorer peasantry, overcrowding on the land often prevented the father from being able to maintain his expanding family and forced him into long treks in search of employment, leaving his small allotment to be cultivated by his wife, aged parents, and children. (Separation of families for employment reasons was also common in China.) In this manner the patriarchal structure of the family was weakened. Mother-centered families also became a common phenomenon when peasant families moved to industrial centers because of the precariousness of the father’s employment and the wife’s need to obtain some income. The plight of the peasantry exchanging village poverty for urban slums is well portrayed in Gorky’s Mother.
Classics of Russian literature also mirror husband-wife and father-child relationships in the gentry and merchant classes. In the former, alliances of property and prestige were frequently contracted, with subsequent estrangement of husband and wife. Women, though protected and rarely in want, had no scope outside the home and were financially and spiritually dependent on men. The merchant class was depicted as suffering even more under the heavy and conservative hand of the paterfamilias.22
From the middle of the nineteenth century the Russian intelligentsia called for equal rights for women as part of their general protest against slothful and autocratic Russian society. They subscribed to a populist rather than a Marxist socialism and saw husband and wife, chosen by mutual appeal cleansed of materialist motives, as equal partners in service to “the people.” Freedom of divorce, forbidden by canon law until 1917, complemented freedom of choice in marriage. Eventually their vision of the ideal family was rounded out by family planning.
When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, they were moved by both ideological and practical considerations to transform the family and the role of women. Since the primary identification of women in societies for which written records exist has always been in terms of their family roles and responsibilities, fundamental changes in women’s roles are predicated upon changes in the family system.
Marxist ideology proclaims class struggle as the moving force in human history, but underlying class antagonism and prototypical of it is the battle of the sexes. Though it originates in the sexual division of labor in reproduction, men’s biological advantage over women does not bring about male dominance until a stage of economic development is reached, such as a pastoral economy, in which the accumulation of wealth makes property rights important. Then, with women tied to the home and the care of children, the economic and military pursuits that brought wealth and power were appropriated by men. As some men were more successful than others, class divisions grew up. Upper-class men had less need of their wives’ services, either as workers or as sexual partners, since they could buy both in the lower classes. And from wives who have become dependents rather than partners, a standard of sexual fidelity can be demanded to which the husbands do not conform. Chastity of the wife became of supreme importance to a man in removing all doubt that the heir to whom he was bequeathing his property was indeed his son. So Engels argues in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. He further sees women as the means of production of children controlled by men.
With the development of industrial capitalism, the insufficiency of working-class men’s wages brought women directly into a money economy. While Marx deplored the degrading conditions of work foisted on women and children and the undermining of traditional family ties, he recognized that a materialist basis had been created for the emancipation of women by providing them with a source of earnings outside the home.23
The Soviet theoreticians believed that the integration of all women into the economy would liberate them from masculine bondage and foster relationships between men and women based on love and mutual respect. Women’s biological burdens were to be relieved by maternity leaves and legal abortions. (Contraceptive devices seemed to be in short supply, and possibly Russian men were as reluctant as Chinese men to use condoms.) Women’s domestic duties were to be transferred to new social institutions: nursery schools, boarding schools, public dining halls, laundries, and the like. As in China, the emphasis was on changing women’s roles but not tampering with men’s roles. Despite some mild exhortations about helping out at home, there was no real expectation that Russian men would assume equal responsibility for the care of the home and of children.
Other reforms of the early Soviet period included the legalization of common-law marriages, the destigmatization of unmarried mothers, the removal of legal distinctions between children born in or out of wedlock, and easy divorce by mutual consent or even at the wish of only one of the marital partners. But all these measures, designed to transform housewives, whose work in the home was considered “unproductive,” into workers, did not succeed in placing women on an equal footing with men either in the home or in industry. As we have discovered in the United States, present equality of opportunity for previously disadvantaged groups does not wipe out the effects of past discrimination. Treating unequals equally leaves them still unequal. Women’s personal relationships with men are closely intertwined with their economic independence. Although enjoying the majestic equality of the law, Russian women, hindered by illiteracy, lack of skills, their own ingrained attitudes, and male prejudice in hiring, did not achieve economic parity with men. In addition, military and economic exigencies forced the provision of collectivized services to a low place on the Soviet agenda. Wars, revolutions, and purges took a heavy toll of men, driving up their price in sexual bargaining. Scarce men were in a position to exploit women. Finally, old attitudes concerning masculine superiority die hard, and women could not risk alienating potential suitors and husbands by pressing economic or personal demands.
Like the state, the family did not wither away, but it did become disorganized. In practice, easy divorce and the abolition of alimony as degrading to women put the full burden of the support and rearing of children on divorced mothers. In the years immediately following the Revolution, homeless children roamed the roads. The New Economic Policy (NEP), which permitted some private industry, was followed in 1928 by serious attempts at industrialization. The bringing of large numbers of women into industry led to a falling birth rate. Thus, a variety of considerations led to Stalin’s “New Family Policy” beginning in 1934, which denounced divorce, abortion, and sexual freedom. Efforts were made to stabilize the nuclear family as the transmitter of values of the new regime, to protect women from male exploitation, and to encourage motherhood through honorific titles and family allowances. It was recognized that state schools could not meet the problem of childrearing and, under the influence of Makarenko, the Russian Dr. Spock, that parents were the best suppliers of a loving but firm authority in preparing the new generation for Communism and overcoming juvenile delinquency.
The main dilemma, however, remained: how to achieve maximum participation of women in the labor force without restricting their childbearing or causing them to shirk their homemaking duties. In addition, the Soviet woman rejected the revolutionary, sexless styles and aspired to feminine charm via cosmetics and clothes.
Since Russian women experience the same role conflict as Western women, one would not expect them to demonstrate economic equality with men, and indeed “they are underrepresented in the occupations that embody directive, managerial, decision-making, and executive functions and...overrepresented in the subordinate and junior positions and in the menial jobs.”24 Much has been made of Russian women’s better showing in such professions as medicine and engineering in comparison with Western women, but their entry into these professions was facilitated by a manpower vacuum and male preference for more technical occupations. The proportion of women in medicine and teaching has already begun to decline.
Furthermore, although a favored minority are engaged in professional work, Russian women make up 80 percent of the industrial sector, including the heavy, dirty, strenuous jobs in coal mining, asphalt paving, stevedoring, and foundry work, for which they are considered natural candidates. In the allocation of jobs between men and women we find a complex interplay of social values and technological factors.
Lenin reputedly said that every cook could govern, and by cooks he presumably meant women. Even the briefest review of gender roles in the Soviet Union should inquire into women’s participation in political life. Obviously, the Communist Party is the most important center of power in the Soviet Union. Currently, women constitute about 20 percent of Party members, but they are largely concentrated in the lower ranks. In regard to the Soviets, which are more facade than fact of political power, women are not represented proportionately, but their role is in striking contrast to both prerevolutionary Russia and the contemporary United States.
From the Russian experience to date no conclusions can be drawn with regard to the future of gender roles either in the Soviet Union or in other industrialized societies. Certainly the Soviet case provides no refutation of the possibility of the abolition of the family or of the social and economic equality of men and women.
In contrast to the recent history of China and the Soviet Union, that of Sweden does not reveal dramatic changes of policy dictated by a small group of policy makers, nor was there ever any attempt to abolish the nuclear family. Although more serious about social reforms, more committed to social democracy, and more homogeneous in its population than the United States, Sweden is close to our own country in its governmental structure and economic development, and it too has adopted measures that sometimes conflict with each other and reflect different interest groups in the society. In Sweden, both debate about gender roles and legislative action concerning them have antedated, and achieved greater salience, than those in the United States.
In regard to social change and feminist thinking, four periods may be identified. First, in the early nineteenth century Sweden was still a predominantly agricultural and rural society, but the traditional rewards accruing to the gender roles of the patriarchal family were threatened by a population explosion, which touched off attacks on conventional marriage. The early stages of industrialization mark the second period, when migration to the towns began and economic necessity prompted women as well as men to seek employment in the mills and factories. Laws and customs stemming from the old agrarian barter economy persisted, however, and women suffered many disadvantages. Before the Marriage Act of 1921, women were considered the wards of their husbands and had no right to their own earnings. Education beyond the elementary school was denied to all but the wealthy few. Both government and industry discriminated against women in a variety of ways. This period, though, saw the beginning of a strong feminist movement, sparked by the writing of Frederika Bremer and Ellen Key. Public consciousness was also raised by the plays of the Norwegian Henrik Ibsen, most notably A Doll’s House, which protested the submergence of the wife’s identity into that of her husband. August Strindberg, a penetrating chronicler of the war of the sexes, came out for equality in the rights and obligations of marital partners in the preface to the first volume of Married, published in 1884. Although he advocated payment by the husband to his wife for domestic services, he did not consider the reverse situation.
The effects of industrialization on gender roles varied according to social class. Lower-class women either contributed to the support of the family or became self-supporting, while upper- and middle-class wives supervised servants in the activities which lower-class women carried as a double burden. Their position was protected, privileged, parochial, and provincial.
As in other Western countries, the state took over many of the protective functions formerly performed by the agrarian family. In its collective provisions for old age, sickness, unemployment, and other exigencies of life Sweden is most advanced, but both political authority and economic power were reserved for men. In this third stage of advanced industrialization women achieved a superficial equality; that is, they obtained equal political and educational rights. Their place in the labor force was acknowledged and protected by various legislative reforms, such as the prohibition against being discharged on the grounds of marriage or pregnancy.
The l960s in Sweden initiated the fourth period of heightened debate concerning ideal gender roles and the means required to realize them. What may be unique to Sweden is the emphasis on changing men’s roles as well as women’s. Thus, there is agitation for a reduction in men’s work time to encourage greater investment in their husband, father, and homemaker roles. This is termed “male emancipation.” The demand is also heard that women should not profit in any way from marriage, for example, through tax policies that discriminate against unmarried persons or pensions for widows but not for widowers. It is recognized that no fundamental change in women’s roles can be brought about without corresponding alterations in men’s roles and that, indeed, some reforms made in the name of child welfare have served to tie women more closely to the home rather than to expand their freedom of choice. Conflicts and confusion of policies reflect divergent interests and outlooks in the society. While the moderates would upgrade the housewife role and assist those wives who desire an additional work role with vocational training, job placement, and collectivized services, the radicals would eliminate all differences in social expectations for the two sexes in that neither the parenting nor the provider role would be more the province of one sex than the other. It can be fairly said that consciousness is more elevated in Sweden than in the United States, but the lag in implementation of sex equality is no less.
Although labor-force participation rates for Swedish married women vary from something more than a fourth to almost twothirds, depending on the number and ages of their children, the occupational segregation of Swedish men and women is such that they are essentially noncompeting groups. Thus, during the postwar years Sweden has simultaneously suffered from labor shortages in certain “masculine” occupations and female unemployment. “Women’s entry into male occupations is hindered by employer prejudice, residential immobility, lack of vocational guidance and training, lower levels of aspiration, and many other factors that continue to operate in Sweden as in the United States. Men are not tempted into traditional female occupations because of their lower pay and prestige. In 1966, for full-time employees, the average Swedish woman’s wage was about three-fourths that of the average Swedish man. The comparable figure is 59 percent for American women.26
Although Swedish women won the right to vote in 1920 and vote in as high a proportion as men, they are poorly represented in elective bodies. In 1968 they constituted less than 10 percent of the Riksdag, admittedly a better showing than that of American women in Congress. Their participation at regional and municipal levels is low.
One might suppose that the high level of interest in gender roles in a self-proclaimed welfare state, the intensive scrutiny of all executive and legislative measures in terms of their effects on the full integration of women into the economy, and the tremendous social effort invested in implementing sex equality might have produced more spectacular results. The fact is, though, that facilities for childcare, the construction of service apartments, and other reforms to help working mothers not only have lagged far behind the need but have hardly approached the growth in child allowances, student grants, and general economic expansion. Part of the explanation may be found in the persistence of social attitudes that look askance at father’s sharing half or more of the parenting role, and the continued expectation on the part of employers that the man’s salary will also cover the otherwise unpaid domestic services of the wife. The perpetuation of such attitudes is projected into the future by the differential socialization of Swedish boys and girls into sex-typed self-concepts and life aspirations.
Summary and Conclusions
What can be concluded from this brief review of governmental efforts to achieve sex equality? Can any generalizations be made about its feasibility or the factors, both temporary and permanent, that foster or hold back achievement of the full human potentialities of both women and men? As a preliminary to answering these questions, it may be useful to summarize both the common and the distinguishing features of the Israeli kibbutzim, Red China, the USSR, and Sweden.
Stage of Economic Development
The Soviet Union and China were predominantly agricultural when their revolutions occurred. Women’s work was needed both for more efficient agriculture and to industrialize the country. No doubt the Communists in both countries were sincere in their wish to emancipate women, but chiefly to make women equal with men in political and economic obligations to the state. Therefore, equal access to jobs and equal pay for comparable skill took second place to economic productivity.
In Israel the kibbutzim began as primarily agricultural, although many later added industrial enterprises. The pioneers did not come from the peasantry, however, but were craftsmen, small businessmen, and scholars. Nevertheless, they too felt the necessity of making the optimum allocation of labor power, which they defined as freeing women from domestic and childrearing responsibilities to engage in “productive” work and reserving men for jobs which it was felt they could perform better than women. To what extent their categorization of jobs as either masculine or feminine corresponded to objective differences between the sexes is debatable.
Sweden also was primarily agrarian when the debate on gender roles began, but although the development of an industrial economy undermined women’s traditional roles in the old agricultural barter economy, there was no pressing need for their menial labor either in the fields or in industry. Therefore, no external pressure was exerted on Swedish women to work full-time outside their homes, nor did the government have to face the dilemma of reconciling the divergent social needs for women’s public and private services.
Strategies for Tapping Woman Power
Both China and the Soviet Union passed through a phase of emphasis on individual freedom for women, an all-out effort to snap the chains of their feudal bondage. Thus, marriage on the basis of love, divorce by mutual consent or even at one spouse’s petition, abortion on demand, no stigmatization of children born out of wedlock or of unwed mothers, paternal responsibility for child support, and the promise of collectivized childcare, cooking, and laundry facilities were among the measures calculated to permit women to act as free agents. Further, women were urged, either as labor heroines in China or as Stakhanovites in Russia, to vie with men in their creativity on the job, production records, and performance of physically demanding jobs. Men were exhorted to overcome traditional prejudices in their attitudes toward women workers and to relinquish masculine prerogatives in the home.
This policy was subsequently modified in both countries because it did not accomplish the primary purpose of enhanced female productivity and, moreover, came into conflict with other goals of the regime, such as stability of family life and, in the USSR, a higher birthrate. Since the emancipation of women was viewed as part and parcel of the class struggle, it required little ideological juggling on the part of the leadership to castigate the feminist movement as bourgeois and to counsel women to postpone their demands or subordinate them to the construction of a socialist society secured against its enemies. In varying degrees the traditional family, with its implications of a double standard and gender-role segregation, was rehabilitated, partly in recognition of the unchanged consciousness of the bulk of the people, of the lag in collectivized services, and of the need for the protection of women, who remained unequal competitors with men economically and in personal relations.
Both China and the USSR appear to be moving in the direction of the United States and Western Europe. As the economy grows more productive and illiteracy of women is overcome, they will be increasingly released from full-time, unskilled manual labor. Some relief from the double burden of domestic duties plus outside work, which women now carry, will be provided by the extension of part-time jobs and the redefinition of the homemaker role as socially productive, as well as by the expansion of childcare facilities and social services. There is little evidence of a serious attempt to magnify men’s homemaking and childcare roles or to encourage them to enter occupations now dominated by women (with the possible exception of medicine). In the meantime women are not exonerated from their work and civic obligations and enjoy less free time than men. Still, the government wages a losing battle against bourgeois contentment. Much like blue-collar women in the United States, the masses of Chinese and Russian women do not find their work rewards in prestige and pay sufficient to offset the temptations of a higher level of living and shifting of the main economic burden to men. Altruistic ideals keep the pioneer generation at its post, but once minimal needs are assured, rising expectations sharpen women’s perception of the inequalities in the opportunity structure, which make at least a partial retreat into traditional home routines a desirable alternative. Both the ideological and the economic bases for gender-role interchangeability in China and the USSR are still lacking.
The kibbutzim went farther than either China or the USSR in breaking down the patriarchal family and in making women economically independent of their husbands, but their value system gave priority to the production of goods, not to services. Further, despite the “ideal” norms of sex equality, members held stereotyped conceptions of the kinds of work best suited to each sex. In the early days these attitudes were masked by the need for women to work in the fields so that their labor power would not be sacrificed to childbearing and childrearing. Continuity of the group was accomplished mainly through the recruitment of new members. However, as the kibbutzim grew in wealth and numbers, children were desired as guarantors of community survival. This development affected women in two ways. First, pregnant women and nursing mothers were transferred to light and later part-time tasks in order to be near their babies, a move dictated in part by an ideology of gallantry not observed in the early days of industrialism in England or in many peasant societies. Second, the diversification and need for leadership in the kibbutz seemed to require a job continuity undisrupted by women’s temporary abstentions. That these considerations were not wholly “objective” is attested by the community’s willingness to overlook men’s periods of absence for military purposes and the fact that the division of labor by sex in the kibbutz extended far beyond any limitations that might be imposed by women’s comparative physical weakness or maternal functions. Thus, women might be assigned to the orchards but not to the carpentry shop, or to teach in the elementary school but not the high school. In contrast to the United States and possibly Sweden, Chinese, Russian, and kibbutz women were made to feel guilty if their family obligations interfered with their community and work responsibilities, but there is no difference among these societies with respect to the social expectation that men need not share equally in the functions of maintenance of the home and primary socialization of the children.
Need we conclude from the experience of those societies in which official policy supported an integration of feminine and masculine gender roles that no institutional framework can be engineered which provides equally for the expressive and economic desires of men and women, that there are inherent limitations on such equality arising either from the social consequences of biological differences between men and women or from the functional prerequisites of any type of social organization? Not necessarily, since it is evident from the foregoing survey that all four societies lacked one or more of the essential conditions for genuine equality of the sexes.
What are these preconditions? They would seem to spring from a complex interplay of social values and technological factors, both internal and external to the society. Let us look first at real social values, as opposed to ideal social values or ideology. It is possible to give lip service to official or prescribed norms, but not to believe in them in a concrete way or in specific instances. On the other hand, “real” ideals too may not correspond to actual behavior, so that we are dealing with three levels: (1) what people think they should hold as ideal, (2) what their ideals really are, and (3) discrepancies between their “real” ideals and their ability to put them into practice. The following discussion is pitched at the second level of “real” ideals. The ideological preconditions for sex equality, then, are:
- Internalized values that do not ascribe different interests and aptitudes on the basis of sex. This does not preclude observation of empirical differences between the “average” man and “average” woman but does not accord these differences greater importance than those obtaining within each sex.
- Internalized values that give equal worth to production for use (including reproduction and services) and production for exchange—those that establish equivalency between men’s and women’s traditional functions, which in the contemporary context means upgrading activities monopolized by women to the extent that (1) women will derive self-esteem from them; (2) men, except for childbearing, will be attracted to them; and (3) under the principle that, as men bear arms for the state, women bear children, social arrangements will be made to compensate women for childbearing, including “mother’s preference” on civil service examinations, scholarships, no loss of seniority, pension rights, or even the job itself. On the other hand, women are to derive no benefit from the wifely status, nor will women receive special consideration for “masculine” types of job turnover which entails a loss of seniority, risks of discontinuity, etc.
- A dominant value system that does not have efficiency at its apex but treasures quality of life and interpersonal relationships as highly as getting the most for the least.4. Most important, but almost too obvious to mention, popular consensus on the desirability of making biological sex an irrelevant criterion in filling any status in the society. With no prejudgments on a categorical basis, all positions will be filled on the basis of individual merit, regardless of sex or any other group characteristic.
Such a transformation of the value system, however, must be sustained by certain key technological, economic, and political factors:
- A physical plant that does not require more muscular power than is possessed by the average woman. (On the whole, women have 70 percent of the muscular strength of men, but the average man does not use more than 20 to 40 percent of his muscle power on the majority of industrial jobs.) Present machinery can be adjusted to a woman’s height and hand size. Increasingly, automation opens up new jobs to women. A dramatic case in point is the sub situation of the ignition key for the hand crank in starting automobiles, an invention that made every woman a potential driver. Increased mechanization of jobs that are now performed chiefly by women, particularly in “developing” countries, would have the further effect of raising productivity and thus helping bridge the earnings gap between men and women.
- Sufficient capital accumulation to permit an “adequate” diversion of productive capacity into consumer goods and services. Such capital accumulation, however, is usually a concomitant of the technological development discussed in the preceding point. A capital surplus is needed both to build machinery and to transfer family functions to other agencies. Further, in an economy of sheer survival, social values that ignore the physical advantages of men are not likely to be maintained. Thus, it has been the experience of rural communes in the United States that a traditional division of labor by sex develops as a condition of group subsistence.
- These technological and economic requisites will not suffice unless they are predicated on a world in which military expenses are minimal. Although historically wars have given women their greatest opportunities, they have not permanently altered their status as an industrial reserve army.
In conclusion, it is possible that these three “materialist” and “ideological” conditions may come about as unanticipated consequences of unplanned social change, but it is more likely that they will have to be abetted by a strong feminist movement supported by both men and women.
- John Bowlby. 1951. Maternal Care and Mental Health. Geneva: World Health Organization Monograph; René Spitz. 1945. “Hospitalism: An Inquiry into the Genesis of Psychiatric Conditions in Early Childhood,” Pp. 53-74 in The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. New York: International Universities Press, I.
- Bruno Bettelheim. 1970. Children of the Dream. New York: Avon Books, pp. 211-16.
- Talcott Parsons and Robert F. Bales. 1955. Family Socialization and Interaction Process. New York: Free Press, p. 80.
- Philip Slater. 1961. “Parental Role Differentiation.” American Journal of Sociology 67(3): 296-311.
- William Graham Sumner. 1963. Social Darwinism. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, chap. 12.
- Steven Goldberg. 1973. The Inevitability of Patriarchy. New York: William Morrow, p. 126.
- Menachem Rosner. 1967. “Women in the Kibbutz: Changing Status and Concept.” Asia and African Studies 3: 35-68.
- Rae Lesser Blumberg. 1973. “Women of the Kibbutz: Retreat from Sexual Equality.” Paper presented at meetings of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Tucson, Arizona.
- Personal conversation with Menachem Rosner, May 1974.
- William J. Goode. 1970. World Revolution and Family Patterns. New York: Free Press, p. 270.
- Ruth Sidel. 1973. Women and Child Care in China. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, p. 17.
- Marion J. Levy, Jr.. 1968. The Family Revolution in Modern China. New York: Atheneum Press, p. 150.
- Ray E. Baber. 1953. Marriage and the Family, 2d ed. New York: McGrawHill, p. 332.
- Myra Roper. 1966. China: The Surprising Country. New York: Doubleday. Roper reports the laughter that greeted her purchase of a jacket identifiable as masculine rather than feminine solely by virtue of its having four rather than two pockets.
- Levy, op. cit., p. 320.
- Sidel, op. cit., p. 181.
- Goode, op. cit., p. 303.
- Ibid, p. 304.
- New York Times (February 18, 1973).
- Charlotte Bunny Cohen. 1970. “Women of China,” Pp. 385-417 in Sisterhood Is Powerful, edited by Robin Morgan. New York: Random House. See also Janet Weitzner Salaff and Judith Merkle. 1970. “Women and Revolution: The Lessons of the Soviet Union and China.” Socialist Revolution 1:4: 39-72.
- See Bernice G. Rosenthal. 1973. “The Roles and Status of Women in the Soviet Union.” Paper presented at meetings of the American Anthropological Association for a delineation of three distinct periods (1917-28, 1928-53, and 1953 to the present) in the evolution of Soviet policy toward women corresponding to economic and political changes in Russian society and the negative consequences of previous policies.
- Philip Mosely. 1959. “The Russian Family: Old Style and New.” Pp. 105-22 in The Family: Its Functions and Destiny, edited by Ruth Nanda Anshen. New York: Harper & Row.
- Karl Marx. 1906. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. New York: Modern Library, p. 536.
- Mark G. Field and Karen I. Flynn. 1970. “Worker, Mother, Housewife: Soviet Woman Today.” Pp. 262 in Sex Roles in Changing Society, edited by Georgene H. Seward and Robert C. Williamson. New York: Random House.
- The discussion of Sweden is especially indebted to Edmund Dahlstrom (Ed.). 1971. The Changing Roles of Men and Women. Boston: Beacon Press.
- Herbert Stein. 1972. “Women’s Second Economic Revolution.” Ladies’ Home Journal October.