The first decade after the Second World War in Yugoslavia was marked with drastic change of conservative gender policies. Communists tried to make a real shift, which was discussed in couple of articles so far, and which will be discussed in my PhD project even more. However, there are many interesting internal reports that show that things were not that simple, and that struggle against old prejudices was fierce and not always successful.
For example, in 1952 fewer women were elected in the elections for the local councillors than 3 years before. Even in Slovenia, that was considered as the most “advanced” republic there were huge problems with potential female candidates. Those candidates complained that there are prejudices everywhere and that men do not see women as equal participants in political life. There were problems even with the communists.
The Party was keen to mention every single town or village where the problems emerged, especially when in some of them the Party members were against nomination of women. The reports claimed that some women were nominated just because men knew that they would not be elected. The activists complained that everywhere they could hear an opinion that "a women should stay at home and not interfere in politics."
There were bizarre things as well. One already elected councillor did not allow his wife to candidate herself even if she was doing his entire job in the previous mandate. Many officials publicly said that they were not going to listen to a woman if she is elected. Local male party members always mentioned that women need to concentrate on the housework.
There was certainly huge pressure from the local community. One woman ran away when she was nominated, as she was afraid that she would be elected and then suffer from men’s obstructions of her work. Other female activists never got any support from men. Women were elected only when they organised themselves and worked hard to convince other women to vote for them.
Female activists claimed that only in the biggest cities, such as Maribor and Ljubljana there were no problems, while everywhere else "there is strong intention to exclude women from political life."
Tough times for revolutionaries!