In Russia, two years after the October Bolshevik Revolution when Vladimir Lenin came to power, women’s equality was theoretically recognized and women’s suffrage was granted. Lenin wrote that “to effect [woman’s] emancipation and make her the equal of man, it is necessary to be socialized and for women to participate in common productive labor.”
Suffrage, however, really meant nothing because of the Communist Party’s monopoly of power. Independent feminist organizations and journals were shut down. Despite the prevailing Soviet ideology of gender equality and the fact that many women had jobs and earned advanced degrees, they did not participate in political roles.
Hendrick Smith, the former Russian correspondent for the New York Times, noted that the emancipation of women had led to their exploitation. He recounts “Under capitalism, women are not liberated because they have no opportunity to work. They have to stay at home, go shopping, do the cooking, keep house and take care of the children. But under socialism, women are liberated. They have the opportunity to work all day and then go home, go shopping, do the cooking, keep house and take care of the children”