Social Experiences

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Life in the socialist city promised equality for all. The mayor was supposed to live next door to the factory worker; women and men were supposed to work side-by-side; and their children were to be cared for in day-care centers. However, the state’s policies often came up short. While many young families initially felt attracted to the promises of comfortable living in the new prefabricated high-rises, they soon became disappointed. Frustration with housing conditions was highest among people in the 25 to 35 age group. When allocating apartments, the state favored married couples and those with children. Despite the emphasis on emancipation and the birth of the new socialist person, gender roles remained traditionally bound and society emphasized the socialist nuclear family. Women had to work, even as they were still expected to raise children. The elderly, single people and gays and lesbians found themselves on the margins of society, which precluded them from living in the modern high-rises.

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