chapter  3
10 Pages

Female mechanics and machine operators

Even though rural women constituted the backbone of agricultural work in jobs that were unskilled and manual, Soviet propaganda for gender equality and mechanization of the countryside brought changes to women’s lives, at least for some. Stalin’s slogan that mechanization would solve all problems implied a greater than ever need for skilled laborers capable of operating machinery. In the 1930s, the government set a quota for women enrolled in professional training schools. No matter the personal feelings of individual collective farm chairmen, 25 percent of seats in these professional training schools had to go to women. As a consequence, some women received training as tractor drivers, combine operators, and mechanics of all types.2