Ana's Land: Sisterhood in Eastern Europe

Ana's Land: Sisterhood in Eastern Europe

Ana's Land: Sisterhood in Eastern Europe

Ana's Land: Sisterhood in Eastern Europe

Synopsis

Facing negative public opinion and nearly impossible conditions in their homelands, east European women are struggling to establish their human rights and to solidify the shaky social gains that were made under state-sponsored socialism. This unique collection gives unmediated voice to women throughout the region, from activists and scholars to high-school students. In a variety of genres, including scholarly essays, interviews and autobiography, they address issues such as abortion, forcedunemployment, rape and domestic violence, lesbianism, motherhood, ethnicity, war, media, and religion.
This grassroots anthology is an invaluable primary source for Western feminists and scholars of women's studies, east European studies, human rights, and post-communist transitions as well as for general readers seeking insight into women's experiences and perspectives in a region undergoing dramatic social change.

Excerpt

Ewa Gontarczyk-Wesola

This essay is an attempt to briefly present the situation and most recent experiences of Polish women and to consider some aspects of the most recent changes in Poland. I refer only to some aspects of this situation because currently there is not much research on women in Poland and therefore profound description and analysis are impossible. the research shows that, despite major changes in the roles and rights of women, traditional values and patterns are still prevalent. This contradiction is attributed to a variety of factors. It is due largely to the impact of opposite tendencies on social policy and practice. Therefore, there is an urgent need to initiate more effective activities in order to solve the problems of women and improve their situation. a democratic state cannot be created without the realization of gender equality. Although the comments made in the following pages relate specifically to women's situation in Poland, I believe that this situation is not, in fact, a specifically Polish problem.

As the number of cross-cultural studies on women increases, it is becoming clear that there are sex inequalities in all contemporary societies, everywhere the status of women is lower than that of men, and women's issues are subordinate to other priorities in most social, political, and economic changes. in Poland today, there is no doubt that the situation for women is not satisfactory--for women themselves and for society at large.

The statistical data (Kobieta w Polsce 1985; Zatrudnienie w gospodarce narodowej 1989) show that the majority of women are gainfully employed; women constitute about 46 percent of the labor force. Hence, the great number of women in the labor force is a significant factor in any plan to alter the position of women in Polish society. But they work mainly in low- status jobs and in traditional female occupations such as teaching, medical care, social work, and food and clothing industries. These jobs and occupations are low-paying; on the average women's wages are 33 percent lower than those of men's. These professions do not offer many opportunities for promotion to managerial or decisionmaking positions. Only a minority of . . .

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