POLISH WOMEN WORKERS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA: WHAT MADE THEM TO COME?
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Post-war Czechoslovakia needed foreign labour and the ineffective system of planned economy even increased the demand. Polish labour was preferred in a significant way by Czechoslovak companies during the whole period of the communist regime. Therefore, some companies from certain industrial sectors, such as glass and textiles, became almost dependent on Polish labour. Overwhelming majority of the workers were women. At the same time, governments and central planning bodies of both countries tried to control and sometimes even limit the foreign workforce both from economic and political reasons. After the arrival of Polish guest workers, rumours about their immoral behaviour, perceived as hunting for husbands in Czechoslovakia in order to stay in an economically better developed country, spread among their Czech neighbours. This stereotype is based on facts in some cases but do not necessarily evince a relationship between cause and effect. It is likely that negative opinion on the Polish workwomen was influenced by a stereotypical view of their country of origin (and of foreigners in general) and their gender. Other reasons for taking a job in the CSR, like a wish to escape from social control at home as well as to obtain scarce commodities, played an important role.
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