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From gender theory to gender policy

In the Soviet period, despite the officially proclaimed gender equality, men and women were not equal in their position in society.

Of course, women could be heads or chairmen of collective farms, active members of the communist party, but there were clear differences in the gender roles of men and women and a pay gap of about 30%. Men were presented as soldiers or workers, while roles of a worker and a mother were fixed for women. However, it was only in the late Soviet period when society became more active in broadcasting patriarchal culture: women were increasingly associated with prostitution and their role in society had been gradually falling.

After the collapse of the USSR, the situation step by step began to change towards gender equality. However, already in 2004, on the wave of administrative reform, the agenda began to change towards more traditionalist values. The "conservative turn" became especially evident in 2012, when Federal law No. 284965-3 "On state guarantees of equal rights and freedoms of men and women and equal opportunities for their implementation" was rejected. From that moment on, all state structures dealing with gender issues gradually started to close in Russia. To date, only 2 structures have survived: the coordinating Council of the Ministry of Labor on gender issues and the state Duma Committee on family, women and children. But, as noted by Olga Voronina, the coordinating Council has not met for the last 4 years (the speaker is a current member of the Council), and The state Duma Committee more focuses on family issues and in its activities encourage traditional values that assign to women the leading role of mother.

Russia is not the only country in which "conservative turn" took place. For example, in many countries of Europe and the CIS, one can notice the tendency to nationalism and the increasing role of religion, which are poorly combined with gender equality. From the point of view of the speaker, the main thing in this situation is not to give up and wait out this period, as the history develops cyclically. Olga Voronina identifies 3 main primary goals for ensuring gender equality in Russia:

1) ensuring more than 30 % of the share of women in the highest echelons of power

2) ensuring the right to equal pay and equal access to education

3) ensuring women's right to abortion

At the end of the seminar, the participants asked their questions and participate in the ensuing discussion.