Edited by Kate Hutchings and Snejina Michailova
Despite 40 years of socialist power in Central and Eastern Europe, during which the importance of gender equality was proclaimed, female and male careers have never been equal in Hungary. All Soviet bloc countries underwent a similar development after the Second World War and researchers call it the state socialist women's emancipation project (Fodor, 2004). Driven by political (ideological), socialist, Marxist feminism (Calás and Smircich, 1996; 2006) and economic initiatives, women were very much the focus of economic policy and enjoyed particular attention and support from the communist state. According to Gal and Kligman (2000, p. 5) the socialist gender order was characterised by five main features: efforts were made to erase gender differences; women were treated as atomised people depending on the state; women as a corporate category were targeted by state policies; women's full-time employment was dictated by the state; and women's dependence on fathers/husbands was replaced by dependence on the state. More or less the same story was typical for each socialist country, as the women's emancipation project was a blueprint of the Soviet model. The outcomes have been controversial, and the researchers themselves attach different significance to this period (1945-90). Gal and Kligman (2000) identified a significant backlash to women's emancipation in every post-socialist country after the change of regimes, whereas Fodor (2004) had a more positive view of women's changing position in the same period, because a high proportion of women entered both employment and managerial positions.
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