On the Intersection of Gender and Class:
How Single Mothers Organize their Everyday Life in Post-socialist Russia
Сand. Sci. (Sociol.), Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Social, Economic and Energy Problems of the North of the Komi Science Centre, Ural Branch of RAS, Syktyvkar, Russia firstname.lastname@example.org
Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof. of Comparative Sociology Chair in St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia email@example.com
The 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.
Arruzza C. (2016) The Queer Alliance between Marxism and Feminism. In: Hartman H. Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Toward a More Progressive Union. Moscow: Svobmarxizd. (In Russ.)
Ashwin S. (2001) Approval of Male Identity in the Labor Market in Modern Russia. Rubezh. Almanakh sotsialnykh issledovaniy [Frontier. Almanac of Social Research]. No. 16–17: 5–24. (In Russ.)
Biese I., McKie L. (2016) Opting in: Women in Search of Well-Being. In: Connerlley M.L., Wu J. (eds) Handbook on Well-Being of Working Women. London; New York: Springler: 503–516.
Burawoy M., Wright E.O. (2011) Sociological Marxism. Sotsiologiya [Sociology]. No. 2: 43–57. (In Russ.)
Chafetz J.S. (1997) Feminist Theory and Sociology: Underutilized Contributions for Mainstream Sociology. Annual Review of Sociology. Vol. 23: 97–120. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.23.1.97.
Danilova S.S. (2009) Sociological Analysis of the Problem of Single Mothers in a Small Town (the Case of the Ivanovo Region). Zhenshchina v rossijskom obshchestve [Woman in Russian Society]. No. 1(50): 49–57.
Ghodsee К. (2020) Why Women Have Better Sex under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence. Moscow: Alpina non-fiction. (In Russ.)
Gurko T.A. (2000) Variativeness of Views in the Sphere of Parenthood. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 11: 90–97. (In Russ.)
Hartman H. (2016) Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Toward a More Progressive Union. Moscow: Svobmarxizd. (In Russ.)
Klammer U. (2018) Gender and Career Patterns in Light of EU Employment and Social Policy Strategies. In: Hohnerlein E.M. et al. (eds) Employment and Social Protection in Europe. London: Springer: 48–55.
Lytkina Т. (2001) The Distribution of Power in the Family as a Factor in Employment Strategies and Household Organization. Rubezh. Almanakh sotsialnykh issledovaniy [Frontier. Almanac of Social Research]. 2001. No. 16–17: 50–65. (In Russ.)
Lytkina Т. (2011а) Maternal Family: The Soviet Dream and Post-Soviet Reality. In: Yaroshenko S.S. (ed.) Women's Project: Metamorphoses of Dissident Feminism in Outlook of Young Generation in Russia and Austria. St. Petersburg: Aletheia. (In Russ.)
Lytkina Т. (2011b) The Biography of Social Exclusion in Post-Soviet Russia. Zhurnal Sotsiologii i Sotsialnoy Antropologii [Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology]. Vol. 14. No. 1: 87–109. (In Russ.)
Lytkina Т., Smirnov А. (2019) The Russian North in the Context of Global Neoliberal Politics: Overcoming Spatial Inequality or Expulsion? Mir Rossii [Universe of Russia]. Vol. 28. No. 3: 27–47. DOI: 10.17323/1811-038X-2019-28-3-27-47. (In Russ.)
Ridgeway C. (2011) Framed by Gender: How Gender Inequality Persists in the Modern World. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
Ridgeway C. (2014) Why Status Matters for Inequality. American Sociological Review. Vol. 79. No. 1: 1–16. DOI: 10.1177/0003122413515997.
Rossi A.S. (ed.) (2001) Caring and Doing for Others: Social Responsibility in the Domains of Family, Work and Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Smith D.E. (1987) The Everyday World as Problematic: A Feminist Sociology. Boston: Open Univ. Press.
Smith D.E. (2005) Institutional Ethnography: A Sociology for People. Toronto: AltaMira Press.
Smoleva E.O. (2017) Mothers with Many Children and Single Mothers: Stereotypes and Social Vulnerability. Zhenshchina v rossijskom obshchestve [Woman in Russian Society]. No. 4: 14–25.
Stacey J., Thorne B. (1985) The Missing Feminist Revolution in Sociology. Social Problems. Vol. 32. No. 4: 301–316. DOI: 10.2307/800754.
Standing G. (2014) Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. Moscow: Ad Marginem. (In Russ.)
Tartakovskaya I.N. (2015) The Gender Order Reproduction via Career Strategies: Intersectional Analyses. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 5: 84–93. (In Russ.)
Utrata J. (2015) Women without Men: Single Mothers and Family Change in the New Russia. London: Cornell Univ. Press.
Voronzova M.G. (2000) Are Fathers Involved in Providing for Children? Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 11: 145–148. (In Russ.)
Wichterich C. (2005) Femme Global: Globalization is not Gender Neutral. Moscow: Links. (In Russ.)
Yaroshenko S. (2001) Gender Differences in Strategies of Employment among Working Poor. Rubezh. Almanakh sotsialnykh issledovaniy [Frontier. Almanac of Social Research]. 2001. No. 16–17: 25–49. (In Russ.)
Yurchak A. (2002) Men's Economy: “Don't be Silly When You Forge a Career”. In: Ushakin S. (ed.) On Masculinity. Moscow: NLO. (In Russ.)
Zaharov S., Churilova Е. (2013) Single Motherhood in Russia: Statistical and Demographic Analysis of its Prevalence and Formation Patterns. Mir Rossii [Universe of Russia]. Vol. 22. No. 4: 86–117. (In Russ.)