The Russian capital’s transport system, which oversees the sprawling metro system, said in a statement that “the first female electric train drivers in modern history started working for the Moscow metro.”
The Moscow metro said Sunday it had hired female drivers for the first time in its recent history, following recent changes in controversial Russian legislation prohibiting women from many professions.
Built in the Soviet era as a Communist showpiece, the metro’s trains were historically operated by men because the work was listed on the government’s register of jobs deemed harmful to women’s health.
The ban on access for women to many professions was widely criticized, and a Labor Ministry decree in September last year cut the number of exclusively male professions from 456 to around 100.
The justification that driving metro trains was dangerous because it meant being underground for long periods came under fire because the metro also employs women as cleaners, cashiers and escalator monitors.
The Moscow transport department said due to the automation of mechanical processes, operating trains is no longer “associated with heavy physical exertion.”
The previous register was approved in 2000 and banned women from mining and metalworking jobs, but also from positions like bus driver, sailor, parachutist, auto mechanic, and even maker of wind instruments.
The new list that was due to take effect in 2021 opens many of these to females.
Russian Railways, the country’s railway monopoly, previously said it would also begin employing female train drivers in 2021.
Covid: Pope criticises people going on holiday to flee lockdowns
Pope Francis condemned on Sunday people who had gone abroad on holiday to escape coronavirus lockdowns, saying they needed to show greater awareness of the suffering of others.
Speaking after his weekly noon blessing, Francis said he had read newspaper reports of people catching flights to flee government curbs and seek fun elsewhere.
“They didn’t think about those who were staying at home, of the economic problems of many people who have been hit hard by the lockdown, of the sick people. (They thought) only about going on holiday and having fun,” the pope said.
“This really saddened me,” he said in a video address from the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
The traditional Angelus blessing is normally given from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, but it was moved indoors to prevent any crowds gathering and limit the spread of Covid-19.
“We don’t know what 2021 will reserve for us, but what all of us can do together is make a bit more of an effort to take care of each other. There is the temptation to take care only of our own interests,” he added.
Many countries have imposed strict restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has killed some 1.83 million people worldwide, according to the latest Reuters tally.