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Gender and History of could have activated post-state-socialist resis-

tive or reformist visions with roots in state


Revolutions in Eastern socialism.
and Central Europe Two misconceptions tend to prevail in
political and sociological analyses of the
C. LAURA LOVIN
CEE countries. The first, most often encoun-
University of Strathclyde, Scotland
tered within political theory that emphasizes
JOANNA REGULSKA
democratization, is consistent with liberal
University of California, Davis, USA
and neoliberal ideological systems. This
paradigm represents the CEE countries at the
The time period examined in this entry beginning of the 1990s as nation-states at the
includes watershed historical moments, such start of an institution-building race. The insti-
as the Russian Revolution of 1917, the end tutions of the West are viewed as the finish
of World War II in 1945, and the fall of line of the race, a desirable and natural end
state-socialist regimes of Central and Eastern point whose contingent histories are erased in
the face of violent, exploitative, and predatory
Europe (CEE) and of the Soviet Union in
colonial interventions of Western states. The
1989. It also extends to the years of European
second misconception is consistent with anti-
Union (EU) accession of 10 CEE countries
capitalist critiques, which challenge global
as well as to the global financial crises of the
capitalism and the hegemony of neoliber-
2000s and 2010s.
alism but in so doing strip the region of
In discussing the postsocialist period, this
agency and reposition the CEE countries as
entry examines the repercussions of the 1989
the victims of the West (Linch 2013).
moment and the political, economic, and
It is important to be cognizant of the reduc-
sociocultural transformations that materi- tive character of these mutually exclusive lines
alized with the fall of state socialism. These of argumentation while also remaining aware
transformations were significantly shaped by of the uneven distribution of power across
the newly acquired global hegemony of the geopolitical regions. This entry considers
free-market economy and liberal democracy. the transformations that the region went
The gains of democracy and political free- through during the past century by account-
dom that followed 1989 were accompanied by ing for shifting geopolitical boundaries and
losses in economic stability for a considerable uneven power relations among regions. Most
segment of the population across the region. importantly it accounts for the agency of the
Furthermore, the endorsement of patriar- people who shaped these changes by opting
chal, nationalist, and chauvinistic attitudes for specific institutions, articulating critiques,
diminished the social, political, and eco- and envisioning futures. Womens mobiliza-
nomic agency of women, ethnic minorities, tions for social justice have emerged from
and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender the interaction between local and translocal
(LGBT) communities in many countries of scales and have sought to address gender
the CEE. Proceeding down the neoliberal issues and inequalities produced within the
path suppressed alternative trajectories that circumstances of state socialism as well as

The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, First Edition. Edited by Nancy A. Naples.
2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
DOI: 10.1002/9781118663219.wbegss273
2 GENDER AND HISTORY OF REVOLU TION S I N EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE

postsocialism. For more than two decades of the family wage and the establishment
women from the CEE have mobilized around of centralized and state-controlled salaries
issues of economic discrimination and polit- under the slogan equal pay for equal work.
ical representation. They have reclaimed Womens educational achievement was high
their bodies and organized in support of on the emancipation agenda. These changes,
reproductive rights and against violence however, should not be seen simply as
against women. While their multidirectional the top-down imposition of the principles of
collaborations at the local, national, and equality as spelled out by Friedrich Engels and
transnational scales have not always been Vladimir Lenin and implemented by the com-
harmonious, together with their allies from munist parties of the region. At the turn of
LGBT movements they have challenged the twentieth century, working-class women
heteronormative and heterosexist definitions from Eastern Europe took to the streets of
of family and sexuality. They have formed cities like Ivanovo-Voznesenk, Odessa, Riga,
alliances and coalitions with activists who and Warsaw to march and demonstrate for
fought for ethnic and racial justice. Some men political equality and the right to vote; they
joined these struggles, but their collaboration joined strikes, riots, and large walkouts; and
with womens and feminist organizations they ultimately entered trade unions and
around the region was rather sporadic and political parties in spite of the fierce resis-
mostly coalesced around the issues of sexual tance they encountered. Women from the
orientation (Regulska and Grabowska 2013). intelligentsia were active reformers and revo-
lutionaries who worked alongside progressive
ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATIONS men toward the goal of improving working
conditions (Clements 1994). A blueprint
The emancipation of women that followed emerged from the belief that women and
World War II was central to the imple- men should not be treated differently while in
mentation and validation of the new order the workforce a transformational blueprint
orchestrated by the Soviet Union for the CEE that initially envisioned that women and men
countries. At the intersection of economic, could and would work the same jobs for the
political, and ideological imperatives, the same wages and have the same promotion and
position of women in the region was radi- leadership opportunities. Reproductive work,
cally transformed by reforms that in theory it was envisioned, would be partially replaced
granted them full political, economic, and by public day care and the provision of com-
legal equality with men. This transformation munal spaces and neighborhood facilities,
of sociocultural structures was mediated by such as playrooms for children, laundry facil-
the objectives of accelerated industrialization, ities, libraries, and places to watch movies.
centrally planned economies, and a policy The hardship of the double burden was an
of intensive labor employment that required important issue on the revolutionary agenda
and guaranteed work for all able-bodied cit- of Bolshevik women, who thought that the
izens. The incorporation of women into wage private duties routinely assigned to women
labor was thus fueled both by the need for should be reassigned to the public domain
womens labor power and by a commitment as a corrective. The problem of the double
to womens equality, though it was also driven burden continued to preoccupy women for
by the realities of the demographic situation generations to come. However, in spite of
in the postwar period. Womens entry into their efforts, by the 1960s the emancipation
the paid economy led to the dissolution of women from reproductive work had been
GENDER AND HISTORY OF REVOLU TION S I N EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE 3

dropped from official reform priorities. This industry, and their educational trajectory was
was due to the cost and ineffectiveness of implicitly different. Qualitative data suggest
changing the structure of domestic work that, along with overt discrimination, another
from free to waged labor as well as to the factor was womens willingness, under the
lack of support from male leaders, who could pressure of their domestic and childcare
not easily part with the free benefits granted responsibilities, to maintain employment in
by their spouses presence in the household positions below their qualifications in order
(Fodor 2006). to be closer to home and better manage their
The vision for equality formulated by time. Paid maternity leave with job guaran-
Bolshevik women was not shared across the tees, mothers and family allowances, public
region. Socialist women in postwar Poland, childcare facilities, paid days off in case of ill-
for instance, embraced womens maternal ness, and other measures were implemented
identity and advocated protective labor leg- in order to help women and alleviate some of
islation (Fidelis 2010). The abandonment of their work burden.
the goal of emancipating women from repro- After 1989, the restructuring of the state-
ductive work was also influenced by abrupt socialist economies through privatization,
declines in birth rates across the region, the wage liberalization, and critical cuts to social
consolidation of nationalist sentiments, and spending led to mass unemployment, social
Joseph Stalins regressive position regarding inequality, and poverty, as well as to a perva-
womens emancipation. Due to these factors, sive sense of insecurity, instability, and lack
the blueprint of womens emancipation was of prospects (Fodor 2006). The post-1989
reconfigured, and womens role as mothers reforms weakened and eliminated many of
and responsible domestic providers was redis- the benefits discussed above and called into
covered and institutionalized (Fodor 2006). question past principles of equality. This
The ensuing pronatalist policies pursued restructuring offered new opportunities for
in Romania under Nicolae Ceausescus some but at the same time marginalized
regime had particularly devastating effects on and disempowered other individuals and
women. The relegation of women to domestic groups. Women were especially affected by
work and motherhood, their continuously the dismantling of social support. While such
required presence in the paid economy, and support would not have fully realized radical
the scarcity of consumer goods on the CEE visions for equality between women and
markets overburdened women with second men, it nevertheless helped women through
and third shifts of unpaid labor. By way of the hardship of their double and triple work
addressing this issue, lower-level jobs were shifts. The relatively proactive role of state
offered as one possibility for relieving the socialism in balancing work and family life
demands on womens time, a double-edged was replaced by policies that mitigated public
solution that also brought along fewer oppor- contributions to funding childcare facilities,
tunities for promotion and raises (Fodor maternity leave, and parental sick leave.
2006). Moreover, in spite of the de jure equal While there are variations within this
pay for equal work, gender-related wage gaps general trend, employment activity rates for
were a consistent feature of the economic women decreased between 1990 and 2004 in
landscape across the state-socialist world. all countries of the CEE. Younger women aged
Women thus tended to be employed in sec- 2024 are overrepresented among the unem-
tors of the economy with lower wages, such as ployed. While their enrollment in secondary
education, service, retail, medicine, and light and tertiary education was a contributing
4 GENDER AND HISTORY OF REVOLU TION S I N EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE

factor, the disappearance of work and the their correlation with lower pensions, a pre-
need to exit paid employment in order to carious future awaits the younger generation
care for children contributed significantly of women.
to this situation (Fodor 2006). The lack of Austerity, the policy most often deployed
local economic opportunities has led to work in response to the global financial crisis,
migration, both intranational (to better- entailed cuts in pensions, the minimization
developed regions) and transnational (to of public sector expenses, or, as in the case
better-developed CEE or Western European of Hungary, the suppression of subsidies for
countries). This is a solution that has enabled public transport and energy. Women were
economic stability for women and men from affected as employees of public institutions
the CEE but that has also had numerous and as beneficiaries of public services. More
negative consequences for children and their than ever, individual women function as
families. The declining economic and social substitutes for public or private child- and
status of women alongside the transnational- elderly-care services. The fact that women
ization of labor has also pushed women into turn to part-time work and to temporary,
dangerous situations of labor exploitation. seasonal, and contract work twice as often as
Trafficking in women represents a new men speaks clearly to the lack of employment
phenomenon in the region, with women opportunities, the unresolved gender equality
being trafficked mainly into the sex industries issues related to the double burden, and, given
in Western Europe and secondarily within the lesser or nonexistent benefits that accom-
the CEE. Similarly, sex work has become a pany these forms of work, to the insecurity
reality of daily life for many women, and local and instability of their lives (Guieu 2013).
sex industries have become sites of consump- Once again, it is womens organizations
tion for the men in neighboring Western that have consistently responded to these
European countries who cross the border in issues. NGOs help individual women and rel-
solicitation of sex (Regulska 2004). Women evant stakeholders to improve their economic
across the region responded to these changes literacy and to acquire an understanding of
with education and outreach programs imple- economic concepts and processes, an under-
mented by non-governmental organizations standing that might then enable them to
(NGOs) to train women for new professions lobby or become advocates for gender and
in order to provide them with access to com- economic justice. Many NGOs across the
puters and the Internet, as well as to lobby for CEE focus on providing services, training,
the creation of new workplaces. and employment information to single moth-
The global financial crisis undermined ers, young professionals, women over the age
the prospects for stability that the CEEs so- of 50, unemployed women, and many other
called transitional economies were supposed groups of women who have been largely
to bring (Guieu 2013). Eurostat data show excluded from the benefits of economic
a persistent gender employment gap, with transformations (Lovin 2013).
alarming indicators for gender pay gaps.
Womens pay lags behind mens by 18 percent POLITICAL TRANSFORMATIONS
in Hungary, 20.5 percent in Slovakia, and
21 percent in the Czech Republic. Elderly Even though women played a crucial role
women from the region are particularly vul- in the 1989 revolutionary transformations
nerable to poverty (Guieu 2013). And given across the region, the political systems that
the wage differentials just mentioned and replaced CEE state socialisms often proved
GENDER AND HISTORY OF REVOLU TION S I N EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE 5

inhospitable to the inclusion of womens scope of the womens issues that appeared
interests in the new agendas and thus led on party agendas to objectives such as ade-
to the marginalization of women. Democ- quate medical services for pregnant women,
ratization has affected womens political profamily policies, and support for single
participation in rather contradictory ways mothers. While their scope was not entirely
(Regulska and Grabowska 2013). Womens limited to these issues, it is important to note
participation in parliamentary politics and that often political agendas steered clear of
their chances of winning elections plum- radical feminist demands, such as the right to
meted in the early 1990s, but by the beginning abortion in Poland (Regulska and Grabowska
of the new millennium there were visible 2013).
signs that this trend had reversed (Regulska According to scholars, politicians, and pol-
2001). In response to being pushed out of the icymakers alike, womens NGOs, which were
political arena, women expanded the scope founded during the decade that followed the
of their mobilizations, taking advantage of dismantling of state-socialist regimes, played
supranational and global resources. Their a crucial role in setting the terms of and
relative success in transforming political par- priorities for womens mobilizations (Regul-
ties and state institutions to afford visibility ska and Grabowska 2013). These choices
to women politicians and womens interests enabled a sense that the CEEs trajectory
is evident throughout the region. However, was coincident with that of Western Europe
feminist critics argue that these changes and served as proof of the regions much-
merely affect the surface structures of the awaited departure from the terms dictated
political apparatuses of CEE, as party leaders by the Eastern political hegemon, the Soviet
continued to be resistant to rethinking their Union. An equally consequential moment
political agendas in ways that reflect gender- of geopolitical reorientation came when
sensitive conceptualizations of social equality. some of the CEE countries joined the EU
Women politicians moved their agenda of in the first decade of the 2000s. Throughout
gender equality forward through two political most of the CEE, the end of state socialism
strategies: advancing women within existing sparked countries to imagine the possibility
political parties and the establishment of of a European return (Regulska 2001, 2009;
womens parties. The first strategy led to the Regulska and Grabowska 2013). But given
creation of womens units within political the external imposition of rules, regulations,
parties (as in the case of Romania and Serbia, standards, norms, and practices on candidate
where womens committees were built into countries, the process of EU enlargement
the structures of existing political parties) and eastward might be understood as a form of
the establishment of quotas for women on proxy colonization, of reinventing Europe
party election lists or within party leadership. through a new mode of institutional and
The concerted actions of women politicians, regulatory colonization.
womens NGOs, and their transnational allies The EU forcefully promoted gender main-
since the early 2000s have resulted in the streaming and gender equality in official state
establishment of womens parties in Belarus, discourses and apparatuses. In turn, womens
Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine. NGOs took on the role of watchdogs moni-
NGOs conceptualization of gender equal- toring national institutions. The effects of new
ity constructed women as a homogeneous vocabularies (e.g., gender opportunities)
interest group, most often defined by moth- and the role of EU and US funding agencies in
erhood, which served to further narrow the setting NGO agendas have been criticized by
6 GENDER AND HISTORY OF REVOLU TION S I N EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE

scholars and activists in the region. In the case Federation of Women and Family Planning
of Romania, these phenomena contributed decided to turn to transnational sites of
to the proliferation of public debates that mobilization. By challenging the abortion
lacked depth and grounding in the everyday legislation in the European Court of Human
realities of gender inequality (Lovin 2013). Rights, they showed how mechanisms beyond
At the same time, NGOs continue to be key national borders can be utilized to confront
actors that work alongside state institutions national challenges and patriarchal concep-
as official or unofficial advisors, providing tions of national culture. These mechanisms
them with data, information, and access to are fueled by new forms of social power
networks. The EU language of equal oppor- that tap into horizontal networks of local,
tunities also affected the gender equality national, and transnational loci of political
policies developed in Armenia, Georgia, engagement (Regulska and Grabowska 2013).
and Ukraine, countries situated outside EU While some NGOs focus their work exclu-
jurisdiction. sively on a particular issue such as LGBT or
While the language of gender equali- ethnic oppression, several equality-oriented
ty and equal opportunities constructed initiatives employ intersectional analyses
womens issues in ways compatible with prin- that account for the complex effects of eth-
ciples of political and economic liberalism nicity, gender, sexuality, and class in their
in response to the operations of neoliberal interventions (Regulska 2009; Regulska
global political economies, the genealogies and Grabowska 2013). Such is the case for
and trajectories of gender activism in post- Romani women and their local and transna-
state-socialist countries are in fact more tional mobilizations to address a postsocialist
complex. Not all countries in the region have environment that subjects them to structural
completed the process of joining the EU; unemployment, deficient housing, lack of
however, their journeys toward the moment sanitation, ghettoization, school segregation,
of EU integration were similar. What was lack of access to healthcare, and institutional
perceived with great enthusiasm by the CEE racism (Magyari-Vincze 2009).
countries as a return to Europe proved to be As its effects are being felt throughout
a difficult process set in motion by a host of the region, neoliberalism is losing its appeal,
new and unexpected power relations between especially for younger generations of women.
CEE countries and the EU (Regulska 2009). Many of them continue to collaborate with
Countries like Romania and Bulgaria still NGOs, yet they have become increas-
face difficulties, and their citizens cannot ingly skeptical of the institutionalization
fully exercise their work rights in some of the of womens mobilizations. Currently, they
older EU member countries. direct their efforts toward the formation
Despite the complicated power dynamics and consolidation of social networks with
involved in EU accession, womens groups alternative organizational structures and that
have also successfully used the transna- seek to politicize public spaces such as streets,
tional arena to challenge patriarchal regimes plazas, parliament buildings, shopping cen-
of power. Womens mobilizations against ters, art scenes, and social media. While
regimes of patriarchal power are also notable challenging the hegemonic framing of social
in the arenas of ethnicity and sexuality. justice issues, they nevertheless do not make
For instance, after a decade of local and a clean break with the previous stage but
national struggles to repeal repressive anti- rather maintain connective threads that link
abortion legislation, Polish activists from the them to institutionalized forms of womens
GENDER AND HISTORY OF REVOLU TION S I N EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE 7

mobilization and activism from the region. SOCIOCULTURAL TRANSFORMATIONS


By utilizing these networks, young feminists
from the region have been able to challenge The campaign orchestrated by CAH and
existing vocabularies and initiate dialogues, Bregula shows that the distinctions between
activities that have led to the formulation political change and sociocultural change
of new terms and approaches to gender jus- may be useful for analytical purposes, but
tice and equality. By calling into question they are not accurate descriptors of social
neoliberal solutions to current inequalities, realities. LGBT struggles against criminal-
approaching the categories of gender, equal- ization, discrimination, and homophobia,
ity, opportunity, politics, and justice in their along with mobilizations for civil rights, have
historical specificity, and ultimately opting led to essential sociocultural transformations
for fluid modes of membership in various throughout post-state-socialist terrain. While
informal womens groups, younger femi- LGBT rights are still out of reach for most
nists open new ways of doing feminism in of the region, extraordinary steps have been
the CEE. taken at the grassroots level, as well as nation-
Such is the case of the collaboration ally and transnationally, to make visible the
between the Polish artist Karolina Bregula discrimination and violence encountered by
and the NGO Campaign against Homopho- LGBT people in their everyday lives, to alter
bia (CAH). Since 2002, with financial support the legislative frameworks that criminalized
from the local government and agencies in homosexuality, and, ultimately, to challenge
the Netherlands, Bregula and CAH recruited the institutions and cultural practices that
30 lesbian and gay couples who agreed to be constitute non-heteronormative sexualities
photographed walking hand in hand. These as deviant and morally flawed. While strug-
pictures were then displayed in art galleries gles are taking place throughout the region,
and on billboards throughout the largest it is important to keep in mind that there
cities in Poland. Under pressure from the are significant differences in the cultural
church and conservative parties, many of redefinitions of sexuality occurring across
the cities withdrew from their commitment post-state-socialist space.
to display the photographs on billboards in The Bucharest-based LGBT organization
public spaces. When they were eventually ACCEPT deserves credit for orchestrating
exhibited, the posters were destroyed and the national and transnational campaigns
deemed extremely provocative by oppo- that led to the decriminalization of homo-
nents of lesbian and gay rights. Some of sexuality by the 2001 repeal of Article 200 of
the galleries that kept their commitment Romanias penal code. Having to work within
to CAH and showed Bregulas photographs a political and social environment that was
faced drastic repercussions and had their almost in its entirety hostile to LGBT rights,
funding from national and local govern- ACCEPTs campaigns engaged a strategic
ment agencies suspended (Mizielinska 2011). homonormativity that aimed to normalize
A year later, taking routes forged by the lesbian and gay identities by emphasizing
transnational collaborations between the commonalities with their heteronormative
LGBT movements from the region, Bregulas counterparts in relation to love, family,
photographs were shown in Bucharest, at and domesticity (Lovin 2004). Along with
the art gallery of the Goethe Institute, as this assimilationist tactic, ACCEPT shaped
part of the first Romanian Gay Festivals the debates over lesbian and gay rights by
program. using a binary vocabulary of traditionalism
8 GENDER AND HISTORY OF REVOLU TION S I N EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE

versus modernity and consistently empha- Today Romani women are actively working
sizing the importance of lesbian and gay toward better reproductive health policies by
rights for Romanias recognition as com- collaborating with NGOs, medical experts,
parable with its counterparts in the West and central and local government agencies.
(Lovin 2004). Resources at the European However, by normalizing the idea that it is
level were invaluable to these activists. Roma womens duty to give birth to more
Indeed, the transnational networks estab- children in order to ensure the preservation
lished to further LGBT rights locally have of the community, the patriarchal tenets
clearly demonstrated the benefits of engaging of the Roma movement further constrain
with European partners as well as con- the opportunities for women to assert their
tributing to the formation of a transnational reproductive rights (Magyari-Vincze 2009).
repertoire that included and valorized local With the dismantling of state-centered
templates for understanding sexuality and socialist regimes, the CEE came under
strategies to achieve change. the spell of capitalist consumerism. Once
The reorganization of sexuality has deprived of consumer goods, women in the
included not only LGBT rights issues but CEE found themselves in a world that not
also transformations of heterosexual family only abounded with consumer commodities,
forms. Despite localized variations, cross- but also instantly required them to embrace
regional demographic data show common unachievable ideals of youth, fashionable-
trends: a decline in fertility rates to below two ness, and slimness. Female artists responded
children per woman, an increase in divorce to these new phenomena promptly by offer-
rates, a decrease in marriage rates, the rise of ing critiques of the new expectations for
cohabitation as a substitute for marriage, a gender roles and new normative terms for
surge in single motherhood, and a tendency their embodiment. Tanja Ostojic, an artist
among younger couples to have their first born in the former Yugoslavia who lives in
child outside of marriage (Regulska 2004). what is now Serbia, has taken the inequali-
Romani women continue to live their lives ties emerging from neoliberal ideology and
in the midst of multiple and intertwining global capitalism as the object of her critique.
forms of discrimination, as members of a Her projects range from photography to
marginalized and racialized minority and performance and consistently address the
as women within patriarchal communities. gendered aspects of transnational migration,
In relation to these trends, Romani women class, racism, and biopolitics in a post-state-
tend to marry at relatively younger ages and socialist Europe. Her work reflects on the
to have more children than national aver- fluctuating boundaries that produce new
ages, and their children register the highest spaces of exclusion and gendered dwelling
infant mortality rates in Europe (Regulska that are deemed illegitimate, such as the
2004). The racist presumption of Roma over- figures of the illegal alien or the prostitute.
population led to the violation of their Finally, Slovenian video artists Marina Gr-
reproductive rights in countries like Romania inic and Aina Smid challenge the gendered
and Slovakia. Romani women, an already power dynamics of contemporary geopolitics
underserved social group, were subjected to that position the CEE countries as the femi-
racist policies of fertility control implemented nine others of Western Europe. Their works
by both national and transnational agencies render visible an immense repertoire of now-
that were designed to appease the fears of repressed discourses and knowledges from
majority populations. the cultural reserve of the spaces described
GENDER AND HISTORY OF REVOLU TION S I N EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE 9

today by the term post-state-socialist. Their Feminists emphasize the geopolitical linkages
montages intervene into the politics of rep- that sustain contemporary manifestations of
resentation of the new Europe as gestures oppression, inequality, power, culture, and
of radical decolonization that demonstrate politics (Suchland 2011). The second world,
that at the core of Western, Eurocentric however, has largely disappeared from anal-
epistemologies lie racialized processes of yses of the transnational and from the scale
subjectivity production. Their works intend of the global. The reasons for this disap-
to raise awareness among Western consumers pearance are complex. This problem persists,
of art regarding relations between power and however, despite the recurring discussions of
knowledge, encouraging them to approach the CEEs non-region status or the powerful
their investments critically and eventually arguments in favor of adding perspectives
transition into new modes of knowing and from the former second world to current
being in the world. debates.
The development of gender studies pro- Constructions of the postsocialist region
grams within and outside of academia as altogether on board with processes of
represents another significant transformation Europeanization and market democratiza-
in the CEE. The interdisciplinary field of gen- tion exclude the CEE from the geography
der studies materialized as the institutional of the critiques of Western and first world
result of complex strategic interventions of imperialism and neocolonialism (Regulska
scholars from the region and their local and and Grabowska 2013). This portrayal results
transnational allies. Their efforts to create from scholarly work that erases the links
spaces outside and within the university in between the resistances that emerged from
which they could research and teach gender postcolonial contexts and the resistances
mobilized university administrators, private developed in opposition to the totalitarian
investors, NGOs, and governmental actors regimes of CEE and the former Soviet Union
who eventually, in some countries, recog- (Grabowska 2012).
nized the value of the emerging field and The journey to democracy and capitalism
provided the support necessary for the estab- did not lead to the outcomes that many
lishment of gender studies programs. The people in the CEE imagined in 1989. As
struggles have been enormous, with mixed already discussed, women from the region
success. In many cases, when Western donors promptly responded to hardships that materi-
funded these programs, the success of gender alized with the dismantling of public services
studies has produced contradictory effects. and the abandonment of notions of equal
Transnational feminism emerged as a participation between women and men in
departure from US-centric feminist knowl- politics or labor markets. Their responses
edge production and as a critique of the in many cases resembled the ways women in
homogenizing, othering depictions of women the West tackled similar hardships. However,
in the third world or Africa. It also amounted CEE women were less concerned to narrate
to an interrogation of the centrality and their actions, positions, and identities in
authority of the West vis--vis womens terms of either gender or feminism. Western
global issues. As an analytical mode, transna- feminist theory, along with a few sporadic
tional feminism addressed the problematic feminist voices from the region, promptly
aspects both in binary theoretical constructs diagnosed this stance as backwardness, polit-
(such as the local versus the global) and ical apathy, and false consciousness (Lovin
political terms (such as global sisterhood). 2013).
10 GENDER AND HISTORY OF REVOLU TION S I N EASTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE

Such misconceptions continued the Linch, Amy. 2013. Introduction: Postcommunism


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Kubik and Amy T. Linch, 126. New York: NYU
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jure gender equality, wage labor, reproductive anness: The LGBT Movement Challenging the
rights, and abortion. Transnational feminism Heteropatriarchal Order of the Nation. In
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