Why Feminism in Russia is Being Suppressed


Feminism has always been a controversial topic. The struggle between the two parties – feminists and LGBTQ+ community supporters vs their opponents – intensified after the presidential election of Donald Trump. The new-elected president was blamed for several questionable statements that touched upon minorities, and the issue blew up within a week.

For America and European Union members the topic of feminism always had substantial meaning to people. But why do we hear so little about women rights in Russia?

Recently the social-political situation with daring statements reached the territory of the biggest country in Eurasia. More and more women tell that they got enough of slavery to men. Let’s look into the history: Russian women have been the grade lower since the dawn of times. All counties included into Russian Empire were strongly driven by men, who were main workers in the families.

XIX century, however, had no questions made about women rights, as ladies had started to be independent long before West. Ability to enter universities was defined by social status, not gender. Russian women received a right to vote in early 1917’s, together with a right to divorce and make abortions.

Soviet Union’s society was all about equality in opportunities. That way government had an aim to make work a unisex thing, because gender was not an opportunity to stay at home. Social realism didn’t make any accents either on female sexuality or on stereotypical gender roles.  Soviet Union tried to fix the issues with maximal integration of a woman into the communist machine. But the reality was different: woman was the person to do the laundry, cooking, and an average wife was the only person in the family to raise kids. Stereotypical jokes together with old traditions on the background of strict behavior gave birth to the second wave of feminism in 60’s-80’s.

Modern days

Surveys of Modern Economical forum claim that Russia is on the 75th place of ‘Global Gender Gap Index’. Though Russian families still prefer traditional roles, a lot of them have equal opportunities and some of them have women as leaders in the family. However, gender position of women in the country leadership is incredibly low, comparing to German, England, Switzerland, America and other forward countries.

So what do Russian feminists fight for and why is their position doesn’t appeal many followers?

First of all, a lot of Russian women fight against abortions, claiming that their bodies can be managed only by themselves and no one has the right to dictate what to do with unborn child. On contrary, Russian government together with Russian Orthodox Church is strongly against abortions. Dozens of channels and programs together with Internet resources launched social clips about wise choices. They may seem pretty graphic and deluded to a foreign person, but this informational segment is being proclaimed ‘patriarchy propaganda’ by feminists.

Second of all, Russian feminists are constantly fighting against ‘judging people by their appearance’ and rape culture. Russia is being considered a country with high statistics of domestic violence, rape and female intimidation.

But despite of the facts given above, Russia stays a country with traditional post-Soviet vision, so female-activists’ meetings are being suppressed and immediately fought. Government and people who are not big fans of feminist ideology (the majority) compared to America and European counties are no so tolerant to different outlooks. Still, feminists form so-called ‘sisterhoods’, establish fests, promote body-positive ideology online, even on Russian girls chats, and continue attending various meetings.

How do you think – does feminism have perspective in Russia? What is a positive impact of such changes for the country with traditional way of thinking? Is it being reasonable or excessive?


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