Progress and Problems in Women's
Cuban women are no longer satisfied with boring, dead-end jobs.
Digna Cires, Feminine Front ( 1986) 1
Before, under capitalism, I earned my living making carbon in Matanzas when they paid 25 cents a sack. Now I am a winch operator in Old Havana, and when I get the opportunity I also participate in the agricultural brigades in the countryside.
Marta Delgado ( 1991) 2
I don't like my work at all. It's monotonous and poorly paid.
Silvia, twenty-seven-year-old textile worker ( 1991) 3
Always with a smile on their lips, they pass the hours singing in the hot summer sun.
Journalist describing twelve women members of an emergency plantain- planting brigade ( 1991) 4
The surge of women's employment which began in the 1970s continued into the next decade. In 1984 a goal that was set twenty years before was achieved: one million Cuban women were at work. In 1990, women constituted 39.6 percent of the labor force.
The growth of the female workforce was propelled by an expanding economy. Sugar prices were good and significant aid was flowing in from the Soviet Union. Economic growth permitted the continued expansion of the service sector, health, and education, thus providing many jobs to women. 5 Women were graduating from the educational system trained to become workers at every level. A variety of material incentives enhanced the utility of women's employment. In addition, many