Research studies Georgian women's wartime experiences through letters

Letters studied in the work detail women's experiences at the home front and roles and responsibilities taken up by them in the wartime reality. Photo: National Archives of Georgia/via the research., 14 Jan 2021 - 17:19, Tbilisi,Georgia

Roles and experiences of Georgian women during World War II, with an eye on the subject of their emancipation and social status during the Soviet era, is the topic of a new research published by the Heinrich Böll Foundation Tbilisi Office.

The South Caucasus office of the foundation released the study of the historical subject, authored by gender researcher Nino Tskipurishvili, on Thursday, revealing the work dealing with domestic labour of women left on the home front, frontline medical service provided by them, subject of sexuality as revealed by war correspondence, and more.

The study is entitled Housewives on the Home Front, indicating a contrast between the Soviet presentation of emancipated women with the wartime reality of their life under traditional gender roles and gender-defined views of women by men serving on the frontline.

The state not only failed to support [the women], but in the face of deteriorating healthcare in the wake of the war, it also imposed restrictions on abortions, and increased working hours and taxes for women and girls" - researcher Nino Tskipurishvili

Tskipurishvili also explores subjects of the Soviet authorities' views and policies towards women, from provision of state assistance to families of servicemembers to threat of punishment for avoidance of increased work hours.

Completed in 2020, the research was prepared under the Heinrich Böll Foundation's small grant project World War II and Women. Its author Nino Tskipurishvili is a researcher dealing with subjects including women’s rights in the early Soviet Georgia and coverage of gender-related issues in media.

Tskipurishvili has published works including Coverage of the Celebration of March 8th in the Georgian Women’s Magazines During 1920-1939 and Not to be Forgotten: Babilina Khositashvili (as co-author) about the 20th century Georgian poet, feminist and labour rights activist.