During the 1930s, Stalin introduced new policies affecting women, marriage and education. These policies were said to be more traditional than those supported by communists, so the change in policies is referred to as the 'great retreat'. There is however speculation over whether these changes were in fact a 'great retreat'.
Many women first entered the Russian work force in the 1930s. In 1928, only 3 million women were employed in Russian industry, this figure rose to over 13 million by the end of the 1930s. Soviet authorities recognised the important contribution made by women to Russian industry and even allocated places in higher technical education for women. Women were however still paid less than men for the same job. This goes against tradition of women being full time housewives, although the pay difference still shows the gender inequality. In addition to working however, women were still forced to adopt traditional roles of housewives, and were to be responsible for household chores. Women were also encouraged to have many children, with rewards introduced for mothers who had large families.
Family was seen as the 'primary cell of the society' in Stalin's Russia. During the 1930s, the value of marriage was re-emphasised by the Stalinist government. For example, wedding rings were reintroduced after previously being banned, and marriage certificates were made to a high quality symbolising the importance of the union.
Stalin introduced a more traditional perspective on sexual morality. Police action was taken against women with an 'immoral appearance' and medical virginity checks were made on young women as a way of supporting sexual abstinence. In 1936, incest, bigamy, adultery and male homosexuality were illegalised again after being made legal in 1930.The state also limited the availability of divorce to reduce the amount of family break-ups. Laws were passed to increase the complexity and cost of divorce, and child support payments were...