Quantitative Evidence, Women’s Education

The increased presence of women in the workforce as a result of industrialization and other aspects of modernization during the 1930s was documented in government publications. While the numbers themselves cannot be independently verified, the more important analytical question involves asking about the explicit claims and underlying issues in these sources. Another important propaganda use of statistics can be seen in this table, in which a comparison of women’s higher education enrollment in the Soviet Union and three so-called “capitalist countries” shows just how unusual the Stalinist period was for the history of women.

Source: Chart of “Women in the Soviet Union and Capitalist Countries.” In Zhenshchina v SSSR (Moscow, 1936).