Worker, mother, athlete: women in Soviet propaganda posters

Worker, mother, athlete: women in Soviet propaganda posters

1 October 2020
Images: The National Museum of the History of Moldova

An exhibition showcasing depictions of Soviet women on propaganda posters is running at the National Museum of the History of Moldova in Chișinău.

Showing 50 of the museum’s collection of 3,000 Soviet placards, The Image of the Woman in the Soviet Poster spans over a period of 65 years, from 1920 to 1985.

Mixing Russian and Romanian spelled with a Cyrillic alphabet, the posters show women learning to read, working in factories, hospitals, or schools. Others feature women as mothers, athletes, or propaganda seamstresses. Many reflect the contradictions in Soviet attitudes towards women: despite encouraging women to join certain professions, Soviet officials also promoted the idea that child rearing should be largely a woman’s job.

Many of the posters are motivational, aiming at meeting central government production plans. “Every minute should be spent on highly productive work!”, says one of them. “Today the factory fulfilled 200 per cent of the plan! We will celebrate everyday with a new victory of labour!” says another placard.

The Soviets involved a plethora of writers and artists in creating such posters. Curated by Vera Stăvilă, the show includes placards made by Moldovan artists N. Koreţki, A. Bubnov, N. Vatolina, I. Bogdesco, G. Dimitriu, O. Cojocaru, I. Taburţă, and others.

To read the translation for each poster, click on the image.

" data-twitter-share-url="https://www.calvertjournal.com/images/uploads/articles/2020/9/DSC_9027.JPG" data-facebook-share-url="https://www.calvertjournal.com/images/uploads/articles/2020/9/DSC_9027.JPG" > “If you work well, the bread gets made!"
" data-twitter-share-url="https://www.calvertjournal.com/images/uploads/articles/2020/9/DSC_9033.JPG" data-facebook-share-url="https://www.calvertjournal.com/images/uploads/articles/2020/9/DSC_9033.JPG" > “We swore to our husbands, hero-warriors, that we will forge their weapons day and night, that during wartime, all norms are broken, in order to help our front!"
" data-twitter-share-url="https://www.calvertjournal.com/images/uploads/articles/2020/9/DSC_9038.JPG" data-facebook-share-url="https://www.calvertjournal.com/images/uploads/articles/2020/9/DSC_9038.JPG" > “Take part in the lottery to help the front"
“Today the factory fulfilled 200 per cent of the plan! We will celebrate every day with a new victory of labor!”
“I am proud of my heroic son”
“What the October Revolution gave worker and peasant women: kindergartens, libraries, schools for adults, canteens etc”
“Comrades, give your warm clothes to the Red Army!”
“Peace! Friendship!”
“Every minute should be spent on highly productive work!”
“Long live peace!”
“Mastery, force and vigour to sportspeople from villages!”
“Nuclear explosions should stop making ... our beautiful home — planet Earth — ugly”
“Any work is beautiful if you choose to do what you like”
“Keep your money at the bank”
“We surround orphans with care and affection!”

Read more

Worker, mother, athlete: women in Soviet propaganda posters

Cloche hats and two-part suits: flick through the pages of a Soviet women’s magazine from 1928 

Worker, mother, athlete: women in Soviet propaganda posters

The story behind the 70s samizdat that launched late Soviet feminism

Worker, mother, athlete: women in Soviet propaganda posters

Andrzej Klimowski: the master of the Polish Poster School on his dark and lurid vision of cinema