The increased presence of women in the workforce as a result of industrialization and other aspects of modernization during the 1930s was documented in government publications. While the numbers themselves cannot be independently verified, the more important analytical question involves asking about the explicit claims and underlying issues in these sources. In this table on employment, the most striking changes are the overall increase in women’s employment, which more than doubled in six years, and the even more rapid proportional increase in women’s employment in traditionally “male” sectors such as heavy industry, construction, and transportation. Yet most women workers still predominated in more traditionally “female” sectors, as shown by the much higher proportion of women in food preparation, services, and institutions, which suggest that even as conditions changed, the relative position of women remained consistent in important ways.
Source: Chart of “Women in the Soviet Labor Force: Total Number and Percent of Workforce.” In Zhenshchina v SSSR (Moscow, 1936).