Martina Smutná

  • Czech Republic (b. 1989 in Kyjov)
  • Currently in Prague, Czech Republic.
  •  - thumbnail  - thumbnail  - thumbnail

    2 / 3

    Together We will Mow, Thresh and Deliver the Harvest | 2018

The construction-oriented stage of the communist rule entailed the enforcement of a radical line in the shaping of social policies. In accord with the Marxist doctrine´s assignment of the central position in human life to work, its application to women projected most tangibly into the overriding ambition to incorporate them into the employment system. This involved the introduction of various instruments in the legislative sphere (such as the institutionalization of state-funded maternal leave, and the establishment of nurseries and kindergartens), the economic system (e.g., state support of domestic services), and the ideological superstructure (with its profusion of public space imagery displaying female crane operators, tractor drivers and the like, on recruitment posters and across the popular culture spectrum). In reality, however, this policy geared to emancipation was never implemented: rather than taking up coveted posts as crane operators, women were assigned to poorly paid factory shop floor jobs, and neither did the promised nurseries and wide choice of ready-to-consume foodstuffs eventually prove generally available, so women ended up taking care of the kids and making home-made preserves just as they had done before, now having to do with the time left after their working hours. Did women seize the opportunities they were offered, or did they rather regard them as merely illusory? Lamentably, this accumulated wealth of past experience has so far remained largely untapped by historical science, partly because it does not fall strictly within the framework defined for our study of the construction-oriented stage of the communist rule in this country.