November 2023 Update.
An oil painting by Han Song Ho depicts a competition in a winter setting (Juche 89, 2000).
A woman is clearly going to knock the socks off her male competitor by holding the mallet in her outstretched hand for the longest time.
The slogan on the hillside reads “Let’s Open the Route!”.
This ink painting is set in summer with a young woman arm-wrestling a male colleague, and the impression is that she is about to win.
It is January 1st, Juche 90, 2001, by artist Kim Sang Hun.
The billboard text reads;
“The Strong Girl”.
This is giving recognition to the arm wrestler who has fulfilled a quota – perhaps in record time or simply by the amount of work she has contributed.
The chap scratching his head seemingly cannot get over the fact that a woman is beating his male colleague. He wears a T-shirt with the text PYONGYANG-NAMPO.
In the distance on the hillside is the slogan: ‘WE DO WHAT THE PARTY DECIDES’.
The images are intended to create the impression of ‘wow, look that girl is tough’.
In North Korea (as in almost all around the world) it is still seen as unusual that a woman can be physically tougher than a man.
Dressed in work clothes, these are young women competing on an equal footing and winning. Certainly, someone to be admired but stripped of femininity and made to look like the odd one out.
Entertainment on major projects does take place. But, there is no doubt that this project was particularly tough.
Construction began in November 1998, and the opening took place in October 2000. It is likely that the project was undertaken to keep youth busy during the period as the country came out of the horrendous ‘Arduous March’.
As the name ‘Women Are Stronger Than Men’ implies, it was built largely by students, young people, and females just out of school.
These are known as ‘shock brigades’ because of the speed they apply to the job.