Women Make Slow Progress in Russian Politics

The traditional role of women as the family’s backbone continues to dominate Russian society. Nonetheless, women are beginning to enter into the political and career-track doors as the country reshapes itself. Irina Khakamada, a rarity in that she is a female member of the Russian parliament and a political party leader, recently commented, “Politics is not a fair game, and gender is a great obstacle. But Russia is doomed to success. It will definitely, eventually, start accepting the values of the civilized world if it wants to avoid isolation.” Another woman moving up Russia’s political ranks, Galina Starovitova also commented that progress will be slow. “The current price of participation is just too high [for women]. For most of us, it is still a choice between a career and a family, because men here still expect their wives to cook dinner for them, and the 20 hour days of a politician do not allow that,” Starovitova said. In the 450-seat Duma, there are 44 women (10%); in the 189-member upper house, only one woman serves (.5%); most recently, Yeltsin has not appointed any women to his top level posts.


The Washington Post - January 7, 1997]

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