The role and status of women in the post-communist countries has been and continues to be varied and full of contradictions. This article discusses the historical, social, economic, and political dynamics affecting the lives of women during the transition from communism to democracy. It argues that democracy, rather than diminishing gender discrimination, has widened the gender gap through declines in women's political representation and increases in women's unemployment and underemployment. Recently, however, the proliferation of women's organizations and the growth of women's studies programs suggests a more optimistic outlook for the future.

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