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The non-feminist women advocates of the Eastern bloc

Second World, Second Sex. Socialist Women's Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War
Forfatter: Kristen Ghodsee
Forlag: Duke University Press (USA)
WOMEN'S MATCH / American liberal feminists love to hate Kristen Ghodsee, who rewrites the history of the women's struggle from an Eastern bloc perspective.

Once upon a time, women from the state socialist countries were pioneers under UN auspices – and it is not least we can thank for the international agreements that (at least formally) protect women's rights globally. This is what ethnographer Kristen Ghodsee argues for in her new book Second World, Second Sex. Socialist Women's Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War, there is an attempt to re-enroll the East Bloc women in feminist history.

Ghodsee has previously noted himself with titles such as Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism, where she analyzes capitalism's inherent women's oppression, and The Left Side of History, where she spotlights personalities such as Bulgarian Elena Lagadinova, one of history's youngest female anti-Nazis. The fact that she writes feminist history from a state socialist – but not apologetic – point of view has made Ghodsee a favorite shooter for American liberal feminists in particular, such as Nanette Funk, who has called Ghodsee "feminist revisionist".

Once upon a time, women from the state socialist countries were pioneers under UN auspices.

I Second World, Second Sex Ghodsee goes directly into this conflict zone by showing how liberal feminists in the West, especially the United States, have actively sought to disentangle the great role women of the former Soviet Allies, including countries in the global South, played in the project to get women's rights on the UN agenda in the second half of the 20th century.

The winners write the story

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.

Among Ghodsee's focal characters is Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman in the room – to lead the Soviet delegation to the UN conferences at which The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was prepared; Elena Lagadinova, who as a teenager fought against the Nazi-allied monarchy in Bulgaria and later led the Bulgarian delegation to the UN Women's Conferences in 1975 and 1985; and Chibesa Kankasa, an anti-colonial heroine from Zambia, as well as her compatriot Lily Monze, who both became leaders in the independent Zambian government and were central to the cooperation of women in what was called the Second and Third Worlds during the Cold War.

"Tereshkova, Lagadinova, Kankasa and Monze were all advocates of various forms of socialism, and without these women – and their total opposition to the official delegations of the United States and its Western allies – the issue of women's rights would never have caught the attention of male politicians, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, "Ghodsee writes, adding:" But by 1995, their legacy was already being eroded by history. "

1995 was the year the fourth UN Women's Conference took place. . .

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Nina Trige Andersen
Trige Andersen is a freelance journalist and historian.

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