Gender Equality in the Russian Federation
Flag of Russia
|Population (in Mil.)||142.96|
|Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB)||1,857.77|
|Sex Ratio (m/f)||0.85|
|Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m)||1.201|
|Income Ratio (f/m)||0.64|
|Literacy Ratio (f/m)||1|
|Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m)||1.36|
|Women in Parliament (in %)||9.8|
|Human Development Index||66/169|
|Social Institutions and Gender Index||- /86|
|Gender Inequality Index||41/138|
|Gender Equity Index||37/157|
|Women’s Economic Opportunity Index||64/113|
|Global Gender Gap Index||45/134|
|More information on variables|
Russia went through major improvements in the health sector in the recent years, but there are still various areas that need significant reforms, especially in the rural areas. The average life expectancy at birth is 68 years for both sexes; females have a higher life expectancy average rate with 74 years, whereas men can expect an average of 62 years. Thus, there are gender differences in life expectancy; men in Russia have a slightly lower life expectancy compared to the global average of 66 years for men and 71 years for women. Moscow is the leading city with 72, 8 average years of life expectancy. The adult mortality rate (per 1000 adults between 15-59 years) remains high with 269 in contrast to the global average of 176. The maternal mortality ratio is measured with 39 deaths per 100000 live births, which is comparably low when considering the global average of 260 deaths. The European regions show a lower mortality ratio, since the climate and environment are considered to be more favorable and due to the dense population in the cities one can receive better medical care. However, medical care is not enough to resolve the problem; for example, although Moscow is a highly developed city, maternal mortality remains to be high. This is due to the overall decrease in the well-being of women, because of increasing pollution, psychological problems and stress. The under-5 mortality rate has decreased significantly from 1990 till today, and is stated as 12 deaths per 1000 live births, which includes both sexes and is below the global average of 60 deaths. Prevalence of HIV occurs at 10 cases per 1000 adults aged from 15-49 years, which is higher than the average of 8 cases globally. Tobacco smoking is certainly higher among men with 70.1% of 15+ year’s olds being a regular smoker and 27, 7% of women smoking regularly. 18.4% of the male adult 20+ population and 29.8% of females are considered to suffer from obesity.
Education in Russia is compulsory for children that are between 6 and 15 years. Basic general education lasts for 9 years and those that want to continue can do so at High School to receive secondary general education. Students can also enter vocational schooling, or non-university higher education that is referred to as PTU (Professional'noe technicheskoe uchiliche), which offer 1/2 till 2 years of professional education. There is also the option of attending a Professional Litsei that offers joint professional and secondary education for 3- 4 years. If 12 years of education are completed, a pupil leaves his full education at the age of 18 and is awarded with the Certificate of Full Secondary General Education (Attestat o Srednem Obchem Obrasovanii). In 2009, the Certificate of Basic General Education has been obtained by 1, 2 million students, and 0, 8 million students obtained the Certificate of Full Secondary Education. Graduates that received the latter from the secondary school, may apply for entrance to a higher educational institution, those can be public and non-public institutions that lead to a Bachelor Degree (4 years), Master (5-6 years) and Ph.D.
Throughout the last 10 years, Russia's education system has faced several major changes due to social and economic reforms. The number of students in higher educational establishments rose by almost 40%, mainly due to the increase in female students. Between 1992- 2000, the number of male students rose by 25%, and females registered rose by 50%. At the moment, there are more women enrolled into higher education than men. However, it is difficult to state whether introducing the charge of fees for higher education has affected female students more than male, since there are no government statistics that include a gender breakdown in this field. Nevertheless, the allocation of the federal budget money has been criticized for becoming increasingly gender asymmetric in concern with the traditional male professions to stay free of charge.
Russia experienced extraordinary upheavals thoughout the 20th century. The Soviet system had some positive consequences for women, including access to education on an equal footing with men, salaried employment and the rejection of patriarchal traditions in some regions. Numerous problems remain, however, particularly in terms of violence against women and sexual harassment.
The Russian family Code protects women reasonably well, but discriminatory traditions persist in some regions. The minimum legal age for marriage is 18 years for both men and women. The local authorities can authorise marriage from the age of 16 years – and even earlier in some regions – if it is considered to be justified. Many Russian women marry young and early marriage appears to be common although not a pervasive problem. A 2004 United Nations report estimated that 11% of Russian girls between 15 and 19 years of age were married, divorced or widowed. By law, marriage requires the free consent of both spouses, but does not need to be authorised by the bride’s family. In some regions where tradition remains strong (for example, Daghestan), consent of the bride’s family still carries heavy weight: brides are sometimes abducted if their parents express opposition to the marriage.
Polygamy is prohibited by Russia’s Family Code, but the practice remains common within the Muslim community, particularly in the Caucasus region. Only the marriage to the first wife is recorded; subsequent wives are not considered to be legally married. In 1999, the president of Ingushetia proposed the legalisation of polygamy, a measure supported by the majority of the population. The federal authorities prevented the law from being promulgated on the ground that regional legislation cannot run counter to federal laws.
The Russian Family Code provides for shared parental authority; mothers and fathers have equal rights and responsibilities within the family. If a couple cannot agree about the custody of the children in the event of divorce, a court makes the decision. In the vast majority of cases, custody is awarded to the mother. If a father fails to pay child support, a court can order it to be deducted directly from his salary. It is very difficult to enforce such court orders, in part because men often underestimate their earnings on income statements.
Russian women and men have the same legal inheritance rights.
The physical integrity of Russian women is poorly protected. The authorities have not taken sufficient action to combat violence against women and observers believe that such violence is on the rise. To date, there is no specific legislation to address violence against women: it is included within general legislation covering assault and other violent acts. Although there are no official statistics about domestic violence, it is known to be very common and a large number of Russian women are killed by their husbands. The police generally refuse to record complaints from abused wives. To provide some assistance, voluntary organisations have set up shelters for victims and confidential telephone helplines; they also offer legal advice and psychological counselling. Local authorities have established shelters for battered women in some cities, including St Petersburg, but there are no state shelters in Moscow.
In Russia, rape is punishable by three to six years in prison; sentences can be increased to 8 to 15 years if the victim is a minor under the age of 14 or if she dies. Victims must have their complaints recorded by the police and must obtain authorisation to be examined by a doctor. The police often obstruct the complaints procedure by deliberately postponing this authorisation until such time as the medical examination becomes useless in terms of collecting evidence. It is difficult to assess the incidence of rape in Russia. Because they receive no protection, victims are reticent to speak out and many withdraw their complaints under the threat of reprisals from the rapist.
A growing number of Russian women are trafficked to work as prostitutes in western Europe, Israel and eastern Asia. Some sources estimate that as many as half of these women are unaware that they are being recruited for prostitution, and are subsequently subjected to significant psychological and physical violence.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is very common in Russia. There is a lack of legal resources to address the issue and public opinion generally views it as a minor problem. Many women put up with such harassment for fear that they will not find another job. The high level of unemployment in Russia exacerbates the problems of trafficking of women and sexual harrassement in the workplace.
Women’s civil liberties are guaranteed by Russian law, but still restricted by tradition in certain regions. In general, women have freedom of movement and freedom of dress. Married women are free to choose a job and spouses decide together where they will live. These liberties are restricted in regions such as the Caucasus, where the population is predominantly Muslim and patriarchal traditions allow husbands to exert an influence over their wives’ movements and dress.
Russian legislation upholds equal ownership rights for women and men, but various restrictions limit their ability to acquire and administer assests. In general, women earn lower salaries than men, are more often unemployed, and remain responsible for the bulk of family obligations. These factors make it difficult for women to rise to management positions in the businesses sector.
The Russian Civil Code provides equal rights to access to property other than land for men and women. All property acquired during a marriage is the couple's joint property; unless their marriage contract states otherwise, it is split into two equal shares in the event of divorce. Each spouse retains ownership and management of property acquired before marriage or inherited after marriage.
Russian men and women have equal rights to obtain bank loans, but women often encounter significant de facto restrictions.
- CEDAW (1999). Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Russian Federation. Cedaw/c/usdr/5.
- International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights ( 2000). Women 2000: an investigation into the status of women’s rights in the former Soviet Union and central and south-eastern Europe-Russian Federation.
- US Department of States (2006). Russia. Country reports on human rights practices.
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.
For detailed information on Russian Federation, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law Russian Federation page.
The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database
The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database contains country level information on social, economic, political and cultural issues related to the gender inequalities embedded in those rights. Disparity on land access is one of the major causes for social and gender inequalities in rural areas, and it jeopardizes, as a consequence, rural food security as well as the wellbeing of individuals and families.
The Database offers information on the 6 following Categories:
- National legal frame
- International treaties and conventions
- Customary law
- Land tenure and related Institutions
- Civil society organizations
- Selected Land Related Statistics
For detailed information on Russian Federation, please visit the report on Russian Federation in the FAO Gender and Land Rights Database.