Women between the public and private spheres
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|This chapter gives a comprehensive overview of the developments regarding women in South-East-Central Europe over the course of the long 20th century. The status of women changed dramatically over the course of the long twentieth century. Women’s social standing improved overall in the public and private spheres, although rather unevenly in the various segments of social life. The crucial reproductive right to terminate a pregnancy was bestowed upon women throughout the twentieth century. Entering into the labour market was a much more radical process for women than it was for men. The purity of women’s beauty was conflated with national purity as patriots claimed the ‘purer’ beauty was found in the countryside because it was unspoiled by ‘blood mixing’. Women became suspected of weakening the strength of the nation by being allowed to bear defective babies. Men, as long as they were ethnically Romanian, were not perceived as similarly dysgenic. Thus, gender trumped any other feature of a woman’s identity in a way that did not apply to men.