Strategy for Revolution in 21st Century - Readers Discussion Board
Stratey for Revolution in 21st Century >Home Page

Womenís Equality vs Patriarchy

Womenís Equality vs Patriarchy
(Coordinator Comment)

"Inequality between men and women has always characterized the culture of war and violence," while their equality is essential to the culture of peace. This goes back to prehistory according to an anthropological study which found that "The male monopolization of warfare was instituted and extended to hunting (in order to preclude the use of weapons by women) and to the initiation rites of the young (male) warriors. The inequality of power between men and women was institutionalized in a way from which we have never recovered." To put it bluntly, the culture of war is patriarchy.

The struggle for women's equality has gone hand-in-hand with other struggles for social justice throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries, and it remains an essential part of revolutionary programs as we enter the 21st Century. The equality of women is as essential for revolutionary action as it is for a culture of peace. According to Lenin "the experience of all liberation movements has shown that the success of a revolution depends on how much the women take part in it."

Great progress was made toward women's equality in the socialist revolutions of the 20th Century. As Lenin described to Clara Zetkin, as a result of the Russian revolution, "In law there is naturally complete equality of rights for men and women. And everywhere there is evidence of a sincere wish to put this equality into practice. We are bringing the women into the social economy, into legislation and government. All educational institutions are open to them, so that they can increase their professional and social capacities. We are establishing communal kitchens and public eating-houses, laundries and repairing shops, nurseries, kindergartens, children's homes, educational institutes of all kinds."

Similar statements could be made about the other socialist revolutions of the 20th Century. At lower levels of power, there was great progress. Just to cite one example, a study in the Soviet Union and the United States compared what happened to a woman's income following divorce. In the US it fell by half. In the Soviet Union, it increased. One could only be impressed by the high percentage of women in all professions in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

A good indicator of women's equality is the percentage of women in parliament. With the exception of the high percentage of women parliamentarians in Scandinavia, the socialist countries have among the highest percentages: Cuba 36.0%, Vietnam 27.3%, China 20/2%. Compare, for example, Jamaica 11.7%, Thailand 9.2%, US 14.3%.

Socialist countries made major efforts to free women from the double burden of worker and homemaker. Lenin told Clara Zetkin, "we are seriously carrying out the demand in our programme for the transference of the economic and educational functions of the separate household to society. That will mean freedom for the woman from the old household drudgery and dependence on man. That enables her to exercise to the full her talents and her inclinations." And as Mao Tse-Tung said, "Under capitalism, the female half of the human race suffers under a double yoke ... they are, firstly, in an inferior position because the law denies them equality with men, and secondly, and this is most important, they are "in domestic slavery," they are "domestic slaves," crushed by the most petty, most menial, most arduous, and most stultifying work of the kitchen, and by isolated domestic, family economy in general."

A further indication of the close link between revolution and women's equality is shown by the fact when socialism collapsed in Eastern Europe, many of the gains in women's equality were lost.

But full equality was not achieved by socialism in the 20th Century. At the top of state power in most socialist countries, the government leaders were men, reflecting the dominance of war communism. In many cases, photos of top government officials were indistinguishable from photos of military generals.

Revolutionary movements, if they are to achieve full equality for women, will have to press not only for socialism, but also for a culture of peace. At the same time, keeping in mind the dialectical principle that "the interdependence and the closest and indissoluble connection between all aspects of any phenomenon," any action for women's equality contributes to the overall struggle of the culture of peace versus the culture of war.

Visitor Comments

To add your own comments in this box, send them with title "sfr comment on women's equality" to the following email:

game administrator Jun. 13 2019,18:22
Readers' comments are invited on this topic.