THE IMAGE OF THE WOMAN AS A MOTHER, AN EMPLOYEE AND A SOCIAL ACTIVIST LAUNCHED BY PROPAGANDA IN THE WOMEN'S PRESS IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF POLAND 1948-1956
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The personal models of women launched by the official propaganda of the People's Republic of Poland in 1948-1956 were adjusted to the current policy and economic requirements. The new authorities established after 1944 considered themselves as the providers of true equal rights for Polish women, in contrast to the prewar period. Such rights were to be gained predominantly by working in professions traditionally ascribed to men, e.g. the construction industry, mining, and metallurgy. These conceptions stemmed from simple demographic calculations: innumerable young men had perished during the second world war, and ambitious plans of reconstructing and expanding the country called for an expanded labour force. Furthermore, the authorities imposed from the outside, and devoid of all authentic support among Polish society, wished to be perceived as the ones which restored a status due to women in society and tantamount to that held by men. The first part of the article outlines a model of the woman as mother and wife, whose task consisted of giving birth to as many children as possible, entrusting them to the State (kindergartens and creches) and reciprocating by working for the sake of People's Poland. A further part of the study considers the model of the woman as an employee, with prime attention focused on women workers in such branches of the industry favoured by the propaganda of the period as the heavy and construction industry, and in the countryside - in production co-operatives. The final model was that of an activist involved in work conducted for the sake of the League of Women, at the time the only women's social organisation in Poland. The article discusses the way in which those patterns evolved throughout the whole period and the manner in which the authorities adapted them to current requirements, by interchangeably placing them in the foreground. When in 1951-1955 the implementation of the Six Years Plan amplified heavy industry and required a larger work force, official propaganda intensively encouraged women to seek employment; when after 1955 the unemployment of women became more pronounced (i.a. in connection with the increasingly slower tempo of the expansion of heavy industry) women were encouraged to stay at home and take care of the children. The prime source used for purpose of the article is the women's press from 1948-1956.
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