“Women are the driving force of change. Politics.”
On January 17, 2019, a seminar of the Research and Study Group was held. Alyona Popova, a social activist, an internet entrepreneur, the founder of the regional public institution “Civil Body” and StartupWomen, and the co-founder of the “Project W” gave the report called “Women is the driving force of change. Politics”
The title of the report fully reflects the author’s point of view that women are able and should play a significant role in politics and, in particular, in Russian political life. However, there are a number of problems because of which representation of women in the modern political life is not enough. Thus, despite the fact that in 2013 the number of women in the civil service of Russia exceeded the number of men more than twice (561,000 women against 225,300 men), female workers are mostly concentrated on the lower and middle positions. As a rule, women do not occupy leading decision-making positions, which is an echo of the patriarchal political system in which male politicians do not want to change the "rules of the game" or simply consider women biologically incapable. Even though the opportunities for obtaining leadership positions are equal formally, informal rules hinder women from obtaining these leadership positions. As a result, female politicians in Russia are very dependent on their image, appearance, and biography, which is not the case for male politicians. In order to illustrate the problem, Alyona cited some members of the State Duma of the Russian Federation and also told about her own experience of participating in the elections of deputies of the Moscow City Duma as a candidate.
Further during the seminar, it was told about the female Ministers of Defense of Scandinavian countries, who, despite the gender stereotypes, are pursuing a course of intensified militarization of their countries. In addition, the speaker noted, that they are allowed to dress in casual style, which is so far inaccessible for women in Russian politics, based on the speaker’s own experience. Attention was also paid to the story of the 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won the democratic primaries in New York in 2018, beating the current Congressman Joseph Crowley.
At the end of the report, a thesis was put forward about how important it is for women in politics to “stop sticking to the standard political images”. Alena Popova noted that, according to the current demographic situation in Russia, it is women who are the driving force of change. But, unfortunately, women themselves rarely vote for women.
The report aroused the great interest of many listeners and a fruitful discussion at the end of the seminar.