Women in Comparative Societies
Post-Communist Europe

Post-Communist Europe

I.  Transition from Communism to "Market-Democracy"
A. General dynamics
    Politically:  pluralization and liberalization
    From single party states, censorship, lack of civil liberties
    to political pluralism, free media, civil liberties

    Welfare state: retrenchment
    From full employment, egalitarian wage structures, free/universal health care,                     subsidized child care, paid maternity leaves, family allowances, pensions
    to high rates of unemployment, income inequality (and wage freezes for many), fees for         health services, loss of child care and subsides, shorter paid maternity leaves, loss of         family allowances, loss or or shrinking pensions

    Economically: restructuring, modernization
    From centrally planned economies to largely market-based ones
B. Gender dynamics
    effects of communism on women
    an "allergy to feminism"?

II.  Marginalization and Domestic Violence in Post-Communist Europe
    A.  social justice
        1.  how do we know it is denied women?
        2.  violence as an indicator

        3.  Iris Marion Young quote

What makes violence a phenomenon of social injustice, and not merely an individual moral wrong, is its systemic character, its existence as a social practice. …It is a social given that everyone knows happens and will happen again. …[it] approaches legitimacy, moreover, in the sense that it is tolerated.  Often third parties find it unsurprising because it happens frequently and lies as a constant possibility at the horizon of the social imagination.  Even when they are caught, those who perpetrate acts of group directed violence or harassment often receive light or not punishment.  To that extent society renders their acts acceptable (Young, 1990: 62).

   B.  Marginalization
          1.  economic sense

                of whole region
                reality of

                perception of
          2.  citizenship sense
                outside the normal bounds of social citizenship

                outside the "contractural relationship" between an individual and a state
                women are marginal in this sense
          3.  rural people, rural women as particularly marginalized
                cash poor
                human capital poor
                institutionally poor
                    - no institutions for articulation of their interests

                    - Poland, end of Housewives Circles
                    - few new NGOs              

                not very mobile - why?     
                    cultural factors

III. pre/post DV situation in E Europe
    A. pre-1989
    problem not recognized
    no services, shelters specifically for DV

    State, Economy, Civil Society
    Draw Venn Diagram

    **public/private distinction important
    crucial in understanding dynamics of domestic violence  

    B.  post-1989

    State - shrinking "retrenchment"
       particularly hard on women
       disproportionately employed by state

    Economy - first abrupt contraction, then growth

    Civil Society - growth
    explosion of women's NGOs
    interest of W funders
    development of trans-national feminist networks

    **new relationship among State, Economy, Civil Society
       new public/private distinction

    C.  State Feminism??

       feminist policies enacted through

       parliaments - change legal codes, criminalize, address through symbolic                     legislation
       Ministry of Women (family)
       Ministry of Labor

       Ministry of Health, etc.
    D.  Pro-woman policies

       e.g. hotline, Blue Cards, training for police, social workers, judges and prosecutors
    E. DV services available now

    My survey research

        1. greatest range of services available through
           combination of state and NGO resources and provision

            pattern found in some large cities

        2.  yet many medium and small cities/villages have no services whatsoever

        3.  some Catholic influence
            impact of Catholic NGOs mixe

        4.  rural areas
            state provision or no provision

        5.  suggested remedies