(Russian, zhenotdely), sections of local party committees of the RCP(Bolshevik) created in 1919 for conducting work among working women with the aim of educating them in the spirit of communism and enlisting their aid in the building of socialism. After the First All-Russian Congress of Working Women held on Nov. 16-21, 1918, commissions on propaganda and agitation among women were set up, by decision of the Central Committee of the RCP(B), under provincial committees. At the end of September 1919 the commissions were reorganized as women’s sections. Members of the women’s section of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) included A. M. Kollontai, I. F. Armand, L. R. Menzhinskaia, A. V. Artiukhina, K. I. Nikolaeva, V. A. Maiorova, M. P. Golubeva, F. V. Niurina, and S. N. Smidovich.
The women’s sections helped organize committees to aid sick and wounded Red Army soldiers, and after the Civil War they were active in the campaign against hunger and devastation. They organized subbotniki (unpaid mass workdays) and established evacuation centers, public dining halls, and children’s boarding schools. The women’s sections had representatives in all the people’s commissariats of Union and autonomous republics, in the system of general military training (Vseobuch), and in commissions of the party’s Central Committee and commissions of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. On the initiative of the women’s sections, the Council of People’s Commissars passed decrees dealing with the legal, domestic, marital, and property status of women.
V. I. Lenin ascribed great importance to party work among women. He addressed the First All-Russian Congress of Working Women and the Fourth Moscow City Conference of Nonparty Working Women, gave many speeches of welcome, and wrote several articles on the subject, including “Soviet Power and the Status of Women” and “On International Working Women’s Day.” The women’s sections played a major role in the communist upbringing of Soviet women. In 1929, by decision of the Central Committee of the RCP(B), the women’s sections were abolished, and their functions were carried out by party organizations as general party work.
A. V. BULATOV