A number of historians claim great successes in the emancipation of women in Soviet Russia, ultimately freeing them from habitual slavery. Women, it is claimed, were led from blind ignorance to the light of knowledge' through a series of policies which were designed to alleviate the hardships of motherhood, housewifery, unhappy marriages, illiteracy, ignorance and so on. It is likely a great number of women benefited from such legislation and began to enjoy a superior standard of living; certainly the policies were unprecedented in any other country at this time. Yet it is also possible to argue that for the vast number of women in Russia the era of emancipation only served to increase suffering. Russian women still spent innumerable hours working and the country became characterised by mammoth divorce rates, immeasurable prostitution, increased poverty, violence and abuse. .
It must be recognised that the Bolsheviks were by no means feminists, yet when they took power in power in 1917 they had a radical commitment to improving the lives of women' and one of their most successful gender policies was to recognise the importance of motherhood. Maternity had previously been seen as private responsibility and of no concern to the state whatsoever. Yet with the Department for the Protection of Motherhood and Infancy set up under the Commissariat of Social Welfare, women's clinics, creches and maternity services were provided . Infant mortality had previously affected so many families since, before the revolution, barely any women received any qualified medical help during labour; yet by 1925 mortality in the cities was nearly half the 1914 level . Plus there were a number of campaigns launched, even during the Civil War, to raise awareness of diseases, sanitation and hygiene . The chaos and misery suffered by pregnant women seemed to be depleting. .
Similarly women launched campaigns to raise awareness of political and ideological issues, to raise literacy levels and get women agitating, talking and voting.