For many decades, the Soviet Union had the highest levels of female employment. For the masses of Azeri women, as indeed for other Soviet women since the Second World War, the "double shift" of outside employment and major responsibility for housework created a life of hardship, further exacerbated by shortages in consumer goods and retail outlets, poorly developed services and a

shortage of labour-saving devices. This was particularly the case for women of Guinar 's generation who had to cope with bringing up families before the relative improvement in supplies and services in the 1980s. Shopping in particular was one of the great burdens of Soviet life, being highly time-consuming, irritating and energy-draining, as one had to continuously hunt through poorly stocked stores for desired goods and queue endlessly. According to official statistics, urban Azeri women's average time spent on housework, in addition to employment outside the home, was three hours a day on weekdays and seven hours a day at weekends.1