First Advisor

David Kinsella

Date of Award

Spring 6-14-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science




Soviet Union, Feminism, Labor laws, Marxism, Communism


This thesis examines the evolution of Soviet women's labor and labor laws through a Marxist lens, emphasizing the contributions of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin. It explores the ideological foundations of communism concerning gender equality and the legislative measures taken by the Soviet Union to emancipate women from traditional capitalist oppression. The analysis reveals significant advancements in women's rights, such as legal equality and protection in the workforce, yet highlights the inconsistencies and challenges, particularly under Stalin's regime, where ideological shifts and practical enforcement diverged from Marxist principles. The research utilizes historical documents, legislative texts, and scholarly analyses to trace the trajectory of women's roles in Soviet society from the early 20th century through World War II. Despite progressive laws, cultural and societal norms often undermined these efforts, leaving a gap between theoretical equality and practical reality. This study underscores the complexities of implementing communist ideologies in a patriarchal society and offers a nuanced understanding of the successes and limitations of Soviet women's emancipation. Ultimately, it contributes to the broader discourse on gender equality within socialist frameworks and the intersection of political theory and practical governance.