On the Intersection of Gender and Class: How Single Mothers Organize Their Everyday Life in Post-Socialist Russia

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Senior Researcher
Affiliation: Komi Science Centre of the Ural Branch of RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Syktyvkar
Occupation: Assoc. Prof. of Comparative Sociology Chair
Affiliation: St. Petersburg State University
Address: Russian Federation, St. Petersburg
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 11

This article analyzes of how gender inequality is woven into the process of class formation in post-socialist conditions. Based on the materials of in-depth semi-structured interviews with single mothers in the framework of a longitudinal study, it is proved that single motherhood is becoming a gender institution that accumulates multiple structural oppression of women through the elimination of guarantees, increasing intensity of paid work, decreasing wages and the need to cover missing incomes by mobilizing their social resources and links. The intensity of work is not limited to paid employment, it also grows in the domestic sphere, where they also have to be more practical, spending additional efforts on maintaining family relationships eventually resulting in significant savings on food and services. The norm of the Soviet gender order of women's double employment at home and at work took on a different meaning. Women's employment under the coercion of the state has transformed into economically forced employment, which however does not allow achieving material independence and confidence in the future. The prospects for upward mobility are more and more limited, and not only for the women we studied but also for their children.

Keywordssingle mothers, employment, life strategies, well-being, intersectionality, Marxist feminist analysis, post socialism
Publication date22.12.2021
Number of characters34325
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