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The talk is dedicated to the history of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), an influential transnational organization of the period of the Cold War. The presentation discusses to what extent can the organization be seen as “a Soviet front” as well as its importance for connections and solidarities between women outside of Europe. In particular, it focuses on the representations of Soviet achievements with respect to women’s rights, and explores how women from Africa, Latin America, and Asia encountered them. I show the special importance of “Soviet Asia” in spreading Soviet influence to the countries of the Global South and pay attention to the locus of the gaze of the guests from the Global South. Furthermore, I discuss the effects of having a Central Asian (Uzbek) woman represent the Soviet women in the WIDF in the late 1960s and early 1970s for the WIDF’s image. The talk is based on the materials from the archives of the Committee of Soviet Women in Moscow and is part of the book The Women’s International Democratic Federation, the Global South and the Cold War: Defending the Rights of Women of the ‘Whole World’? (Routledge, 2021).

Detail Summary
Date 14 January 2021
Time 16:00 -18:00

Yulia Gradskova is Associate Professor in History and works at the Department of History, Stockholm University, Sweden. Her research interests include Soviet and post-Soviet social and gender history, decolonial perspective on Soviet politics on emancipation of “woman of the East” and gender equality. Gradskova is the author of Soviet Politics of Emancipation of Ethnic Minority Women. Natsionalka (Springer, 2018) and co-editor of several books, including Gendering Postsocialism. Old Legacies and New Hierarchies (Routledge 2018, with Ildiko Asztalos Morell); Gender Equality on a Grand Tour. Politics and Institutions – the Nordic Council, Sweden, Lithuania and Russia (Brill, 2017 – with E. Blomberg, Y. Waldemarson and A. Zvinkliene).

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