October 100: Women’s liberation

The October Revolution changed forever the perception and accepted role of women in society, showing the way to complete emancipation and equality.

Ella Rule, vice-chair and international secretary of the CPGB-ML, speaks at the party’s packed celebration of the centenary of the October Revolution, held on 4 November 2017 in Southall, west London.

Ella summarises the steps taken in law and by concrete practical measures to bring Soviet women equality with men, granting full legal equality from the first degrees of the victorious revolution, and backing these with practical measures to bring real equality to women, in town and countryside.

Women were integral to the successful revolutionary struggle and to the Soviet people’s efforts to develop and build a socialist society. First and foremost, women won the right to work, and barriers to participation in every sphere of life were systematically challenged and removed.

Notably, high quaity social facilities of every kind were created to free women from their onerous social role in the home and allow their participation in production, administration and politics on an increasingly equal footing with men.

Soviet women were light years ahead of their counterparts in even the richest capitalist countries – especially the rank and file working women living under capitalism.

Ella concludes by noting that the trail blazed by the Soviet Union, and by Soviet women, has served as an example to working women of all countries, and, under the joint pressure of these two forces, has dragged the capitalist nations, to varying degree, unwillingly in its wake, leading to many of the increased freedoms that many working women the world over now take for granted.

True liberation of working women requires the liberation of the working class from capitalist wage-slavery, and women must play an equal role in the revolutionary movement to bring this about.