Equality to Women, Child Care & Education to All

Soviet Russia was the only country which gave equal rights in spirit and letter to women who are oppressed from ages by male dominance. Women are employed in every field both mental & physical just like men and paid equal salaries.

Magazines or Movies were banned from depicting women vulgarly. Poor or vulgar depiction of women would get severe punishment. Soviet Union is the only country which eradicated prostitution, in addition to poverty and illiteracy.

Women were given maternity leave of 52 days before child birth and 52 days after child birth with full salary. During pregnancy medical personnel made home visits for health checkups. Pregnant women were given nutritious food supplements at very low cost.

Women fared well in all fields of work. An anecdote shared by Akilan given below highlights this aspect.

“I was watching the rain from the 8th floor room of hotel Alma Atta at Alma Atta. After light sun shine in the morning, suddenly it rained heavily. The street was flooded. Then a truck came and stopped there. A woman jumped out from it wearing gum boots & rain coat. She had a long bar in her hand. She lifted the manhole lid with some effort and opened it. When the rain water is drained, she reset the lid in its place & threw the bar in the truck which then moved off with her.” (Akilan’s same book, pg 69)

If all women work, who will take care of children? The answer is Yaslis. They are like our ‘Balwadis’ (but won’t be so miserable). They are run by the state. Parents leave their children in them when they go to work. These crèches are setup in proper ambience to keep kids happy. The children are taken care of by babysitters. They wash the babies, play with them, feed and put them to sleep, all with motherly care and love. If any kid falls ill, it would be kept separate and well taken care of. Only after it gets well, it would be allowed to mix with other kids.

Yaslis were setup near the factories. Lactating mothers can go out and give milk to their kids twice a day, half an hour each time. This break is included in the working hours. Children are raised in Yaslis for first 3 years. During this period, kids are taught to speak & trained to do their chores. Yasli system inculcates in kids from very young age the sense of community and the spirit of collective work.

After 3rd year and up to 7th year, kids are put in kinder gardens. In these gardens, kids are not forced to memorize things mechanically. They are encouraged to learn the arts they like. They are taught self discipline by making them wash their plates, cleaning in group, etc. They are taught right from the beginning to treat no work as undignified.

After kinder garden, they go to schools. They are schooled in their mother tongue, Russian. In addition, one foreign language was compulsory. Teachers were also subjected to exams. Only if they pass them, they can continue as teachers.

Education up to 10th standard was compulsory. The education was directly under state regulation and free. Thanks to such initiatives, Soviet Union put an end to illiteracy within 2 decades. Adults joined evening classes to become literate.

Such students educated in scientific spirit formed the foundation on which Soviet Union could stand tall in science & technology.

(to be continued…)

This is a translation of Tamil article published in  vinavu in 2010. On the occasion of the 101st anniversary of the great Russian Socialist Revolution (November 7, 1917), we publish this article as five part series. We had added updated information to account for the 8 years of new developments.

Translated by : Nesan


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