Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, March 08, 2013

Gender cleavage in Russia

In US politics, the cleavage is identified as the gender gap. Outside of northern Europe, the gender cleavage is a political reality.

Ask your students to find evidence of the cleavage in the countries they are studying. Percentages of women in governments and legislatures; incomes and wealth of women compared to those of men; literacy rates of men and women; university degrees earned by women and men; percentages of women in influential business and academic statuses, etc. Are some of the countries doing better than others?

For International Women's Day, here's a tale from Russia. (How many countries besides Russia have declared International Women's Day an official holiday?)

Russian women get flowers, not power
Men ranged through the streets of Moscow on Thursday, clutching pink tulips and yellow mimosa, dismantling pyramids of champagne, buying up skyscrapers of chocolates. Joyful or dutiful, all would be prepared. Friday was on its way.

Putin hands out flowers
Lucky Russian women! March 8 is their moment: International Women’s Day, when nearly every man they know gives them a bouquet along with an expression of regard, if not love. Women, the government says, are so important that the entire country must have the day off to celebrate them. Accolades flow. Role models offer advice, so familiar to the Russian ear…

This week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev celebrated women’s day at the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, which, of course, is run by a man. Only one of the 21 ministries — the Health Ministry — is headed by a woman. Only one of the six deputy prime ministers is a woman…

Natalya Bitten, a political scientist, writer and feminist, grew up eating the candy and smelling the flowers, and one day noticed that very few of the women so ardently admired were running government or businesses.

“I don’t want candy and flowers,” she said. “I want a good job and education. Where do flowers and perfume once a year get you if you have nothing the next 364 days?”…

On Monday, a group of media representatives published a list of Russia’s most influential women, which was led by Valentina Matviyenko, who is speaker of the upper house of parliament. Of course, Nadezhda Shvedova [head of the Center for Social and Political Studies of the Institute for U.S.A. and Canada], said, she’s not really powerful. The Federation Council is appointed and does what it’s told by the men in power…

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1 Comments:

At 8:46 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Russian women’s rights rally broken up


MOSCOW — Seventeen women’s rights activists found themselves behind bars on International Women’s Day on Friday after police broke up a rally in the heart of the city because some of the protesters had gone off-message.



Though city officials had issued a permit for the gathering... police said some of the demonstrators began chanting slogans and holding signs... that had not been approved.


The rally was sponsored by the liberal Yabloko party and featured a series of speakers promoting equal pay and opportunity for women along with improved social benefits...


Natalya Bitten, one of the speakers, said that... several people who identified themselves as Russian Orthodox activists, arguing that feminism endangers the family, began throwing rotten eggs and other foul substances at the women...

 

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