This WorldCanvass examines the public and private lives of women in Russia and Eastern Europe during the years since the collapse of the Soviet era. An international panel of guests highlights the themes of a major conference held at the University of Iowa in April 2011 called “20 Years after the Berlin Wall: Women’s Shifting Roles and Status in Post-Communist Europe.”
UI Russian Professor Margaret Mills joins lecturers Irina Kostina and Jitka Sonkova as well as a number of UI students and visiting scholars to offer a historical and contextual overview of women’s experiences and expectations during the post-Soviet transition as well as an understanding of the double burden of work outside and inside the home that is still a part of women’s lives.
We discuss women and gender, contrasting the goals of Western feminists with the aspirations of women in post-Communist Eastern Europe. We look at lifestyle and professional opportunities for today’s young women. How are young women in or from Eastern Europe making career decisions and will they remain in their home countries or look for opportunities in the U.S. or Western Europe?
We address women, politics and power as seen through the lens of statistics and the media. And, in our final segment, we focus on representations of women in classic Russian and Eastern European literature and film, and hear recorded and live samples of the works of noted Russian composers Sofia Gubaidulina and Irina Dubkova. The music of Dubkova is performed by “ensemble : peripherie” and conducted by Joseph Dangerfield.
Featured guests are Anna Sharogradskaya, a professor of journalism whose primary areas of focus are Russia through the Russian Media, Media Ethics, Reporting Diversity, and Civic Journalism, and Hana Haskova, deputy chair of the Department of Gender and Sociology at the Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Other participants in the program are faculty members and lecturers from the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Margaret Mills, Irina Kostina, Jitka Sonkova, Anna Barker, Jonathan Larson and Rene Lecuona. Also participating are Maria Alm, Alicia Boruta-Sadkowski, Lorraine Ross, Rosie Johnston, Marketa Sonkova, Michelle Crouch, Laura Wiebe, Ann Duhamel, Dmitri Petrov, Frane Karabatic and Mackenzie Kane.
Mills, Kostina and Sonkova were co-directors of the conference “20 Years after the Berlin Wall: Women’s Shifting Roles and Status in Post-Communist Europe,” which was supported by an International Programs Major Project grant.