March 20, 2024

Progress and Regression


Progress and Regression
The Motherland is calling, and Russian women are answering, on a Soviet postage stamp. Irakli Toidze, Public domain

While women are not eligible for Russian army mobilizations that continue to ensnare men (potentially up to age 70), societal expectations have changed for them at home

Women have been expected to fill in vacancies in the labor market after the departures of conscripted men, and while women have put themselves forward for higher-paid jobs, they still ask for far less in terms of salaries than their male counterparts. The difference is reportedly an average of R22,0000 ($238) less per month, in a country where the average monthly wage is R94,900 ($1,130).

The demographic shift has also led to amendments in the Russian Ministry of Labor's list of professions prohibited for women. For example, women can now work as airplane pilots and in aircraft maintenance, although they still cannot work as aircraft mechanics.

Another complication comes from the fact that men who volunteer to join the army can escape responsibilities such as paying alimony. As long as a man stays at the front, he cannot be arraigned for owing alimony or child support. 

It has also fallen on women to improve Russia's currently low birth rate in the face of high losses at the front. One result of the efforts to improve the birth rate has been a decline in the number of clinics performing abortions. In regions such as Crimea, Tatarstan, and Mordovia, the majority of clinics refuse to perform abortions. Conversely, the number of women looking for contraceptives is at a peak. 

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