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Gender Roles in Russia

By Cassidy Justice - Guest Writer
On March 9, 2016

    In America, gender roles are very important. In some ways they help us establish our identity or even help create order to our families. Whether the need for gender roles in our society is biological or a socially constructed view, it still seems to play a part in America’s culture. Olga Novikova is from Vologda, Russia which is close to Moscow, the capital. She gives us a personal insight to her experience of gender roles in Russia.  

     When asked about stereotypes of gender roles for women and men in Russia, Olga states, “Gender roles are very similar to those here in America. For the most part, men are responsible for working, and the women are responsible for housework.” Olga believes that a man’s strength gives him the advantage of having more power in the family. However, Olga thinks that the world for women in Russia is changing and that they are now starting to work as well as men. 

     As a result of gender roles, there are sometimes stereotypes that form of a certain gender. Olga says, “Although women and children take care of the house and men are in charge of the construction of the house, it does not make women unequal to men. It can simply be a result of occupation segregation by gender.” It is obvious that equality is something that Russia is well on their way to achieving.    

     A lot of times, stereotypes of gender roles can relate to educational differences. For example, in America it seems that sometimes girls are pushed more towards reading and language arts, while on the other hand, boys are sometimes pushed more towards math and science. Olga says that, “Where I come from, I do not see any education differences between boys and girls. People in school are pushed more towards what they are good at, not based on gender. It is very equal in the educational system.”  

     A result of a great educational background is power. Although men sometimes can seem to have more of an advantage in Russia just because of the positions they hold, a powerful woman is not looked at as a bad thing. Olga says, “Although there are not a lot of women in power, the powerful women in Russia do not have a diminished image. We are just as capable as men are and are not looked down upon for it.” 

     So what does this mean for professions for men and women? Although there seems to be equality between the two genders, there seem to be professions that differ between the two. Olga states, “Occupations for men are things like fireman, police officers, CEO’s or even doctors. While women’s jobs are things like teachers or nurses. My mother is an English teacher in Russia for example. It is very similar to women and men’s professions in America.”  

     So, does the inequality wage gap problem occur in Russia like it does in America due to different professions? Olga says, “Women choose careers that pay less, but that does not necessarily mean they are less skilled than men. Women in Russia enjoy careers that include nurturing which helps others but that often pays less.”   

     Though it seems obvious that women are significantly equal to men in Russia, is it possible that the roles of women have changed over the last twenty years? Olga says that, “Although there seem to be more changes for women in America, I believe women in Russia are reaching that level. There are some women gaining more powerful positions, so we are obviously getting there, we just have not reached it quite yet.”   

     Although Russian and American societies share these similar gender roles, the way these roles are viewed is different.  

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