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Russia Moves Towards Gender Equality

For the first time in decades, women have been allowed to drive on the Moscow Metro system.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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Beneath the streets of Moscow, a social revolution is taking place. The most shocking spectacle for some: a woman at the controls of a subway train and a dozen female employees who already worked on the city's rail network, now fully qualified drivers.

In several countries, women's rights have been gaining ground, although there is still a long way to go in terms of equity. In the case of Russia, women could not practice certain professions until now. Moscow's transport department welcomed the first female electric train drivers in the first week of January. Twelve women joined the network in the Russian capital after completing their training.

The city's Metro stopped hiring female drivers in the early 1980s. The Russian government added the profession to a list of jobs deemed too physically demanding or even dangerous for women. However, the automation of the system allowed this role to be removed from the list. The prohibition of women's access to many professions was widely criticized. In September last year, a decree from the Ministry of Labor reduced the list of jobs not available to women from 456 to around 100. The revised law, which came into effect on January 1, 2021, will also allow women to take over. other strenuous jobs such as long-haul tractor and truck drivers that were previously unavailable to them.

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Maksim Liksutov, Moscow's deputy mayor and head of the Department of Transportation and Development of Road Infrastructure, said during a press conference held for all media, "We believe that in our day, everyone should have a choice and work where they want, regardless of your gender. We are very happy that the Moscow Metro has become one of the first in the Russian Federation after a hiatus that began in the 1980s, which provided an opportunity for women working for the Moscow Metro to get a new profession."

A New Profession But Also An Old One

Women were allowed to drive subways in Moscow in the 1930s, but then the Soviet Union banned this and hundreds of other professions that were considered harmful or dangerous.

Now that the ban has been lifted and will not only defeat female train drivers, women can now drive tractors, trucks and serve aboard ships, but there are still dozens of professions that are banned. Until now, only internal candidates have been allowed to apply, but the Moscow Metro promised that jobs will soon be open to anyone.

This new step in the necessary integration of women in Russia has meant that the rapid transit system it serves will also hire women on trains throughout 2021.

The train was built in the Soviet era as a communist masterpiece and historically operated by men. According to the government, the risk for women was staying underground for long periods. However, women were employed in the subway, but for other functions, such as cleaning, cashier, and escalator monitors.

There is no doubt that this is a great step towards gender equality in the country's workplace.