Female Breadwinners in State Socialism: The Value of Women’s Work for Wages in Post-Stalinist Poland – Contemporary European History – article

Female Breadwinners in State Socialism: The Value of Women’s Work for Wages in Post-Stalinist Poland

Natalia Jarska | Contemporary European History

2019-11-05

This article examines popular opinion about women’s wage work in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Poland, using letters to institutions and sociological research from this period. It introduces the notion of female breadwinning as a useful category to describe the understanding of women’s wage work under state socialism. Opinions on women’s wage work varied, but all of them were based on gender assumptions. Women’s and men’s work were valued differently. Men’s work had an indisputable, independent position. Women’s work was evaluated in the context of family. Women could be breadwinners, but not equal to male ones; their wage work was perceived as secondary.

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