chapter  5
5 Pages

Women as collective farm leaders and agricultural specialists

Women in the countryside were indisputably an important workforce, yet they rarely worked their way up to become collective farm chairmen or highly skilled agricultural specialists. There was a significant opposition to promoting women to the highest ranks in the collective farm system, and although the propaganda campaigns for gender equality allowed some upward social mobility for women, their numbers remained small and marginal in the highpaid skilled labor force. Some women commanded such following and respect that they became de facto leaders of individual farms. Official chairmen in these cases were willing to recognize these women’s authority and reputation among other peasants by allowing them to host meetings and lead agitation and propaganda campaigns.2 Yet these women were rarely, if ever, promoted to official positions of power and prestige.