By: Klentiana Mahmutaj
I am a child of communism. I was born in Communist Albania in the late seventies and was raised there until the age of 19 when I secured a scholarship to study at an English university. I am now a practising barrister in capitalist Britain and a mother of a two-and-a–half-year-old child, regularly facing the challenges that come with being a full-time working mother who seeks to succeed in a challenging profession. Inspired by the ongoing debate on women’s inequalities, I have recently reflected on my own childhood politics and have come to the surprising conclusion that the place to look for solutions to gender inequality is the Communist model.
How Communist Albania treated women
The Communist promise that women should be equal players in the workforce was not an empty one. Women were positively encouraged by government campaigns to embark on all professions, including “manly” jobs, building on the fact they had fought in large numbers alongside the men as partisans during the Second World War. To achieve this they were given traineeships, professional qualifications and scholarships. No doubt the reasons behind this policy were not entirely ideological. Albania imposed one of the sternest and most isolating forms of Communism. Consequently the country was largely self-reliant in terms of its economy.
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