Sexual Discrimination in
Socialist society must eradicate every form of discrimination against women. . . . But women also have other functions in society. . . . They are the creators par excellence of the human being. And I say this because instead of being the object of discrimination and inequality, women deserve special consideration from society.
Fidel Castro ( 1974)1
To care for chickens may seem a trivial thing. Nevertheless, it requires special qualities of patience and care on the part of the worker. This is why women, with their innate faculties for lavishing care, represent the highest percentage of workers in poultry farms.
Male director of Camagüey chicken farm ( 1983) 2
It is undeniable that we have made much progress in the struggle for equality, but it is also true that discriminatory practices still exist. Consequently it is essential that the leaders and militants of the Cuban Communist party energetically combat any unjust action . . . that they valiantly combat all remnants of bourgeois ideology that still prevail.
Vilma Espín ( 1986)3
Egalitarianism was a central value of the Cuban revolution. A key test of Cuban egalitarianism was the treatment accorded to women in the workplace. While the revolution was committed to sexual equality in theory and rhetoric, this commitment was often undercut by persistent traditional notions of women's role as well as by the pressing need for economic efficiency.
In the fields and on the shop floor women were often seen not as equals but rather as helpers, or as temporary substitutes for men in jobs