This article is an attempt to shed more light on the topic of state socialist feminism in
Eastern Europe by focusing on part of the biography of one of the most visible women’s
activists and political functionaries in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe after 1944,
Tsola Dragoicheva. It should be considered as a contribution to the ongoing debate
regarding the character of state socialist measures toward women and the “gender
contract” in the countries of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe between 1944
and 1989. It does not pretend, however, to cover and evaluate Dragoicheva’s entire life
(or to agree with everything she did) or to create an exhaustive picture of state socialist
measures toward women in Bulgaria (nor does it underestimate the significance
of structured gender inequalities, which often remain unnoticed); rather, it discusses
some facts and procedures dealing with “women’s issues” that researchers have only
vaguely covered so far. The study is based on various archival materials from Bulgarian
and international archives, and on the periodical press from the period under
consideration, oral history interviews, and scholarly publications relevant to this topic.
It is part of an ongoing project on Gendering Balkan Nation-States.