The Soviet Union in the 1930s was a rapidly modernizing nation. As part of this modernization, the role of women in the workforce was becoming increasingly important. By 1935, the proportion of women workers in the USSR’s workforce had grown to the point that every fifth worker was a woman. This article looks at the growing role of women in the USSR’s workforce and the impact of this change.
Women’s Growing Role in USSR Workforce
Prior to the 1930s, the role of women in the USSR’s workforce was relatively limited. Women were largely relegated to traditional roles such as housework and childcare. However, as the Soviet Union began to modernize and industrialize, the role of women in the workforce began to change. Women were increasingly encouraged to take on roles traditionally held by men, such as factory and agricultural work. This shift in attitudes towards women in the workforce was further encouraged by the Soviet Union’s commitment to gender equality.
1935: Every 5 Workers in USSR Were Women
By 1935, the proportion of women workers in the USSR’s workforce had grown significantly. A report from the Soviet Central Statistical Administration showed that by this date, women made up almost every fifth worker in the USSR. This was a dramatic increase from the pre-1930s, when women made up only a small fraction of the workforce.
The increasing role of women in the USSR’s workforce had a number of impacts. For one, it allowed women to become more economically independent, as they were able to earn their own wages. This, in turn, allowed them to gain more autonomy and freedom. In addition, the presence of women in the workforce meant that the Soviet Union was able to utilize a larger pool of labor, which helped to speed up the nation’s modernization process.
By 1935, the proportion of women workers in the USSR’s workforce had grown significantly, with almost every fifth worker being a woman. This shift had a number of impacts, allowing women to become more economically independent, and helping to speed up the nation’s modernization process. It also marked an important step in the Soviet Union’s commitment to gender equality.
By 1935, the Soviet Union had reached a significant milestone in its push for gender equality, with women taking up as much as 20 percent of the USSR’s workforce. This, combined with access to free education, free daycare, and the availability of contraceptives, was part of a sweeping series of change aimed at undoing traditional gender roles, and creating greater inclusiveness in all aspects of society.
The push for female inclusion in the workforce began in the period between the 1917 revolution and the late 1920s, with women beginning to be included in vocations traditionally occupied by men. This became a particularly important priority during the industrialization period, as the need for workers in industries such as engineering, metallurgy and construction grew. This was a priority also shared by the Communist Party, which sought to include women in the workforce across all areas, regardless of whether they had prior experience in the given industry. This resulted in a series of state-backed initiatives such as funding for workplace education, discounts on equipment and tools and legal protections against workplace discrimination.
By 1935, the rate of female participation in the labor force had more than tripled since the revolution, and was just shy of the 20 percent mark. This was a remarkable jump which had dramatic implications for the Soviet economy, with female labor contributing to a significant rise in GDP during the 1930s.
This rise in female participation in the workforce was also reflected in other areas: by 1935, 30 percent of positions in government offices were held by women, higher than any other country in the European region at the time. This was coupled with the availability of contraceptives and enforcement of the 1936 Family Code, which gave married women the legal right to obtain a divorce, parent rights and full access to education.
The USSR’s push for gender equality during the 1930s was an incredible example of its commitment to women’s rights and liberties. This showed in the dramatic jump in the proportion of women employees in the workforce, as well as in the other initiatives introduced to promote inclusion. As a result, the nation ended the decade with a vastly changed landscape in terms of both gender roles and the opportunities available to women.