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Moscow Metro hires first women train drivers in recent history

As of Sunday, January 3, women train drivers began working in the Moscow Metro for the first time in Russia’s recent history. The head of the city’s Transport Department, Maxim Liksutov, made the announcement on Telegram, adding that the female drivers will be driving the trains on the subway’s Filevskaya Line. 

A female train driver at the Moscow Metro’s Fili train depot
Vyacheslav Prokofiev / TASS

The Russian capital opened training courses for Moscow Metro drivers to women in February 2020. In total, 25 women enrolled in the training program, but according to the Transport Department, only 12 of them have started working in the subway system.

While the Moscow Metro had women train drivers during the Soviet period, the Russian government barred women from the profession in 2000, on the grounds that it was too dangerous. However, as reported by the television channel Moscow 24, the metro’s last female train driver, Natalya Kornienko, resigned in 2014.

Women in Russia were granted the right to drive trains as of January 1, 2021. That same day, the country reduced the number of jobs considered dangerous for women four-fold — from 456 professions to 100. According to the new rules, women can now (among other things) work as boatswains (petty officers), skippers, or sailors on board ships, and take jobs as tractor or long-haul truck drivers.

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