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History of Communism in Europe

Volume 7, 2016

The (R)evolutionary Maze: Communist Parties in Europe

Klejd Këlliçi, Ermira Danaj
Pages 39-61

Promoting Equality, Perpetuating Inequality
Gender Propaganda in Communist Albania

During Socialism, the “women’s issue” was among the key state policies in Albania. The emancipation issue followed a pattern similar to other socialist countries, called the “women’s emancipation model”. It was part both of the state rhetoric and the general need to include women in the “socialist transformative processes”. This involved policies that supported women’s participation in the productive labour force, as well as the introduction of new laws that promoted the equality between men and women. A reconfiguration of gender roles and the gender division of tasks occurred during socialism. In Albania, this process had two distinct phases. From 1944 onward women’s emancipation was thought of in terms of their participation as an additional force in the post-war reconstruction effort, even though sporadic and aligned with the primary political needs of the regime. The second phase occurred during the ‘60s following the Party’s directive “For the complete emancipation of women” (1967). This phase was considered strategic as it coincided with the efforts to industrialize the country and to eventually fully centralize the control over the territory. This paper aims to investigate the entanglements between gender propaganda and gender practices. For this purpose, we analyse various party speeches and policies as well as examples of “heroines” and propaganda movies. A thorough analysis of State Archives and other documents was undertaken to substantiate this investigation.

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