Comrade Woman

08 March 2018

Cultural Studies | Gender and Sexuality | History


“Women are building a new life, shoulder to shoulder with the men. Half the workers and employees and a third of all the engineers in the Soviet Union are women. They build electric power stations and plants, head scientific expeditions, construct highways, and everywhere, they bring cosiness and warmth.” – Comrade Woman

Comrade Woman, 1975. Digitised from the vaults of the British Film Institute.

Digitised in our Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda resource, Comrade Woman captures the stirring spirit of 1975, the year named International Women’s Year by the United Nations. Produced by the Central Documentary Studios, Moscow, and directed by Zinaida Tusova, Comrade Woman presents an overview of the diverse and vital roles of women within Soviet society.

Offering an insight into the daily lives of accomplished women from various parts of the former Soviet Union, Comrade Woman introduces us to an architect from Vilnius, a poet from Azerbaijan, an engineer from Yakutia (who also serves as head of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Yakut Autonomous Republic), an astronomer from the Urals and a collective farm manager from Turkmenistan. Russia’s most celebrated female cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, also features in her role as member of the Soviet Presidium and head of the Soviet Women’s Committee; also highighted is the importance of her role as a mother.

Comrade Woman, 1975. Digitised from the vaults of the British Film Institute.

Crafted as a piece of socialist propaganda, Comrade Woman successfully presents a vision of the Soviet Union as a highly progressive state in which women are equal, vital and politically active members of the socialist system. The traditional female maternal role - the role of love, peace and protectiveness - remains inherent to this presentation of equal participation, as the women in this film are painted as mothers not only within their own families, but collectively to the entire Soviet Union.

Digitised from the archives of the British Film Institute (BFI), Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda is a collection of documentaries, newsreels and features that reveals the world as seen by Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese, East European, British and Latin American film makers.

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About the Author

Amy Hubbard

Amy Hubbard

Since joining Adam Matthew’s editorial team in January 2015 I’ve had the privilege to work on some fantastic resources including ‘World’s Fairs: A Global History of Exhibitions’, 'Race Relations in America‘ and 'Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda’. My academic background is in literature and film and my main academic interests lie in visual culture, in particular anything to do with David Bowie.