facts about Russian women

November 25, 2006

Women at Work.

Women make 46.9% of the employed population in Russia. The greatest proportion of working women are in public health service (85%), education (81%), credit and finance (78%), information and accounting services (75%), whilst the lowest share is in the construction industry (22%).

” As in Soviet times, the majority of working women are trapped in low-wage ghettos, such as medicine, education, and clerical jobs. The difference is that Soviet-era perks, such as accessible day care and child allowances, have evaporated” writes Fred Weir in his article.
The principle of equal pay for equal work is in the constitution but men prevail in leading positions and dominate among well paid experts, so men’s average wage is higher than women’s and it seems to increase even more with time.
There are protective laws prohibiting too hard jobs for women, such as carrying too heavy weights, or working at night. You’ll see many women, though, working in the shops and in the metro past midnight: the law allows ‘temporary’ contracts for such jobs. Pregnant women or women with a child 1 to 3 years of age are strictly forbidden to work at night. When a pregnant woman leaves her job to give birth and look after her child, there is a ‘requirement for a 3 year-paid maternity leave for child care‘. Therefore young women are discriminated when applying for a job.

Women make 45% of the unemployed population. Many women lost their jobs after the end of Soviet Union. Also, like many men, some e ducated women left their jobs themselves (because of lack of proper payment) for other jobs where they don’t put in practice their skills. Some women stopped working and stayed at home, some women became alcoholics.
The age for pension is 55 years old for women, and 60 for men. However State pensions are usually 1500 R/month (50$) which is barely enough to eat for one month. Consequently many old women find little jobs to earn a bit more.

Wedding, Russian Surname. The legal marrying age is 18 years old for both men and women, but it is possible under some special circumstances for a girl to marry at 16 of age.
Property acquired by spouses during marriage is their joint property, unless stipulated differently in a contract between spouses.

The spouses can share their surnames after the wedding. The husband can take the surname of his wife or vice-versa.The surname of a man is feminised with the suffix -a to become a woman’s surname: for example if the husband is called Smirnof, the wife can change her surname to Smirnova. The spouses can also keep their original names. After divorce names can be kept or recovered.
In Russia, children are usually given a name, and a patronymic (derived from the name of their father). For example Anna has a father called Petr Pushkin, she will be called Anna Petrovna Pushkina. Her brother will be called Stepan Petrovitch Pushkin. People use more often their patronymics than their surname to present themselves in official meetings.

Family Planning. Contraceptives and hormone containing remedies are relatively expensive in Russia as the monthly average income salary is 1500 R (54$) and a condom costs around 9 R (0,3$) and pills between 50 and 300 R (1,8 and 10$).
In Russia, abortion still remains the main method of birth control. Abortion is legally permitted under the following instances: at a woman’s request within the 12th week of pregnancy; within 22 weeks if there are social conditions under which pregnancy, child birth and child rearing would become a heavy burden for a woman; and at any time if it is established that pregnancy could harm the health of the mother or the child.
Russia’s abortion rate is one of the highest in the world. For every 100 births there are approximately 200 abortions.
Due to the lack of funds in the public health services it is not always possible for a woman to have an abortion ‘at her own will’ free of charge. An abortion costs 5$ in rural regions and 50$ in Moscow.
Programs of family planning were applied between 1992 and 1996, making the number of abortions decline by 25% . But in the following years, there were less or no funds put in the programs, because of pressures mainly by religious groups, and the percentage of abortions raised again. Sexual education is given since 1996 in schools in Moscow and St Pet but not in every establishment.


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