The second half of the XX century has given to the world a new political phenomenon – a breakthrough of female to the highest echelons of power. In several countries of Western Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America, they took the power in their hands. The process of flowing women into politics thoroughly shakes the stereotype politics – for men, family, children – for women. But this stereotype is not broken. In general, the proportion of women in decision-making in most countries is low and far below their proportion in the population and labor force.
There are at least two theories about women in politics. According to one, in the policy there is a special women’s style, which is characterized by great attention to human, social issues. It is believed that a woman’s style is more peaceful, because women do not tend to solve problems by force, launch wars and conflicts. The second view is that the style of the policy does not depend on the individual’s gender, but on the psychological characteristics of the policy, because there are men who are peaceful and attentive to the individual’s personality, and there are women who are warlike and are not careful people.
The position of women in modern Russia is determined by a complex of factors. Reform processes, which affected almost all sectors of the Russian economy and social sphere, differences in access of men and women, and persons belonging to diverse social groups, to financial and credit institutions, including land and property, led to a significant differentiation of women according on income and living standards, the labor market, the need for specific forms of social support. For example, according to the State Statistics Committee, 93% of private property in Russia belongs to men. Our country has a total monopoly of men, oil, gas, large and medium-sized enterprises.
Meanwhile, the participation of women deputies in parliament and other representative bodies is extremely important not only for women, but for society as a whole. Practice shows that for women, such issues as the environment, child protection, health care, social security and so on, and this issues standing at the periphery of the interests of men. Among other things, the lack of representation of women in government provides a basis for the question of how legitimate the relevant political structure, whether the democratic political system of the state.
By the number of women deputies in the lead Scandinavia ( from 33 to 40% of deputies). Approximately at the same level in these countries is the representation of women in the municipal government and the provincial parliament. In the European Parliament from 12 EU countries 34% (according to 2009 year) of the elected women members. (“Women in,” 2011).
Women and Politics in Russia: Illusions and Reality
The trend of strengthening the role of women in politics until the election them presidents and prime ministers now slowly becoming a symbol of time. All modern developed countries move to a new, modern state functions at the growing demands of the population to the quality of life of the society and the transition to a new stage of development – an information society. The modern type of society imposes significantly higher demands on the reproduction and development of human capital, which, in turn, distributes the usual functions of the state from the traditional to the modern side. These modern functions are associated with the policy of the state in areas such as education, health, social security, basic science.
The gradual change of roles of the modern state, not least formed a hard request for recovery of gender balance in the leadership of the state and create a more efficient mechanism of governance at all levels. That is why the promotion of women in power considered now as a tool of a stable, humane and sustainable development of society as truly equal status between men and women change priorities of the state policy, the life of the country. Statistics show that states that have in their parliaments and governments of less than 25-30% of women, do not cope well with the problems of maternal and child health, child rights and social protection. And this points to the fact that respect for and promotion of human rights in accordance with the basic democratic demands are not met in full. It is no wondering that the fight for truly democracy includes a very important component – the full equality of women up to parity with men in the government, parliament and all the institutions of the state providing social justice and stability in society.
Among public servants in government in 2009, women made up 69%, men – 31%, but mostly, women do not hold in this system of management positions. As part of the current Russian government among ministers are only 3 women. Less than 30 subjects out of 88 women are deputy first persons named above. Even in local government women mostly just “replace” the heads of men.
The role of women in the policy depends on the dominant ideology in society, as well as socio-economic and political features of the country’s stage of development. In 1930, “the woman question” was considered to be resolved, and had disappeared from the party of the policy, its organizational structures and of scientific debate. Care about the “political role of women in society” was shown in a quota of women in representative bodies. In 1980-1985 the percentage of women in the Supreme Council was 35% in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR – 32.8%, in the Supreme Council of the Union republics – 36.2% of the autonomous republics – 40.3%.
These quotas do not reflect the true position of women in the political life of the state, although it must be admitted that at the lowest levels, local level, women were very active, and their representation in local government was high. This is a global trend. Some Western political analysts even believe that women have a tendency to consider the local level with a more than acceptable for themselves ideologically and politically than the central government. As for the management of economic activities, the accounting of 48.4% of the employed population, women hold only 11% of posts of heads of industrial enterprises, 8% – agriculture, 10% – communications, 0.7% – construction companies.
In such a way the representation of women in the higher echelons of power is low. Besides higher power structures are like a decor element, male trick, a concession to the “pressure” of women’s general public. Their positions and their numbers do not provide a real opportunity to influence the economic and political life, both within the country and abroad.
Causes of low political participation of women
First of all, we should answer the question to what extent, the low participation of women in decision-making in the scale of society is a heritage of the past and to what – its origins can be found in today’s difficult reality. There is no doubt that there is a range of different acts, by its nature, source and time of origin factors. Consider the most important of them.
Firstly, was exposed and developed the conservative patriarchal stereotype attitude towards women, which exists in the public mind. Gorbachev patriarchal thesis about “the return of women to their natural purpose” is often picked up by populist politicians. It is present even today in the media, has its supporters and among some of the women themselves, and among parliamentarians and members of government. Patriarchal approach to women show now in everything. This cancellation of the quota system for women’s representation in the highest levels of power, limiting the possibilities to combine work with family responsibilities due to downsizing and financing childcare facilities and services, and the new family law, oriented woman more on family than to work and changes in cultural policy. This is finally and the role of the church, the revival of fundamentalism and nationalism.
In the public mind there is a deep asymmetry in the criteria for the evaluation of men and women as leaders and politicians. On the one hand, as a rule, hardly perceived ability of women to leadership, independence, objectivity and scale of thinking, political maneuver. These qualities are considered as men ones.
There are no direct legal acts restricting women’s access to power structures, the constitutionally fixed, in Russia. (Tishkov, 1993). At the same time, there are a number of indirect acts that by providing various employment benefits associated primarily with parenting, and oriented only to one parent – mother, prescribe exactly the woman to combine family tasks with the work in social production. Because of this, women were regarded as an employee with a mass of “benefits”, therefore the “unreliable” candidate for promotion in management structures.
In addition to the socio – economic factors in the movement is a socio-cultural norms that regulate human behavior in certain circumstances. It is based on restrictions and prohibitions, by which society is standardizing the behavior of its members. In addition, it contains positive requirements that specify how can and should act, which is largely following by the internal psychological attitudes. Behavioral attitude and install a leader – derived from socio-normative culture of society. And today it does not include, and rejects the woman and set up at the man. Nature of social relations between genders depends not only and not so much from the genders division of labor, the range of specific duties of men and women, but on the distribution of power, prestige measure of public recognition of male and female employment.
New methods in the policies of some countries and political parties against women
On the threshold of XXI century activities in defense of women’s rights became more active and gained strong global momentum. During 20 years after the first United Nations Conference on the Status of Women, the campaign activities for the achievement of equality between women and men has changed a lot and the undoubted achievements took place: the number of women in the labor market increased at an unprecedented rate, and women achieve a more significant role at all levels of public life.
An important event was the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It is defined in the form of international legal principles and measures aimed at ensuring equal rights for all women. It is called for “… the state to adopt national legislation prohibiting discrimination against women,” encouraged them “… adopt temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women, as well as measures to modify social and cultural models that promote continuing discrimination”.
Played an important role the long-term strategy for the advancement of women in the period from 1986 to 2000. The strategies were put forward three objectives – equality, development and peace. The equality is seen not only as a legal concept, but as equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women to participate in the development process as an active force, is directly connected with the problem of overall socio-economic development and taken as a basis for the progress of all societies. In these documents, there were aspiration of the international community to eliminate discrimination against women by 2000. They stimulated in the conceptual approaches, strategies and tactics of public policy, the creation of national mechanisms, monitoring the implementation is the current and long-term programs.
In the countries of the multiparty system work among women is nominated as a special problem. Bringing them to the party means to it or victory, or loss. The study of policy documents socialists, social democrats against women, the mechanisms of their involvement in political activities in the governance structures of their countries suggests that the parties in this period flexibly change their tactics. In the new environment, many political parties have reviewed the system of its relations with the female part of the population, half of which, under certain demographics conditions, depends on the outcome of elections to the authorities.
All parliaments of the world, men account for 83%, women – 17%. However, the representation of women in the parliaments of various countries is variable. This is determined by the economy, the level of development, culture, religion and political system. For example, in countries such as the U.S., Brazil, UK, France, Tunisia, Kenya, India, Japan, Thailand and Australia, women make up 10% of deputies. The next large group of countries – a country where women’s representation in parliament from 10 to 20%. These include Canada, Spain, Italy, Poland, Angola, Iraq and New Zealand. The group, consisting of five countries, women in parliament between 20 and 30%. This is China, Iceland, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany. Finally, the last group, where 30-40% of women in Parliament, include Sweden (47%), Finland, Norway and Denmark (38%), Cuba and Guinea. (“Parliamentarianism, democracy, a” ).
As analysis shows of public policy of the EU, now the most significant change in the approach to solving the problems of women, increasing their role in society associated with the processes of collective social planning in order to:
to protect the public initiatives from the destructive impact of the bureaucracy to the EU Council recommended: provide the conditions for fair participation between women and men in leadership positions in all the EU institutions, in particular the European Parliament, the Secretariat of the EU;
to ensure effective implementation of the EU action at the national and local level through local institutions that would ensure the participation of women on an equal basis with men as social transformation. From Governments the EU member states are expected in this area constructive co-operation;
provide such conditions that policy decisions and changes were agreed with the interests of all citizens, without discrimination on grounds of gender.
Increased participation of women in political processes of developed countries – a significant sign of the times. Quotas of seats for women in the party and the parliament in the West categorized infringement of democracy. Considered to be a non-democratic society, where women are excluded from decision-making.
4.Women in politics: national and international experience
How does in comparison look the representation of women in power in our country and the world at large? There are more than 3 billion women living in the world, according to the Federal State Statistics Service, in Russia there are more than 76,6 million, nearly 10 million more than men. On average, they make up half or a little over half of the population of any country. The rights to vote in most of the women were later men. For example, in U.S. men – since 1870, and women – since 1920, in Japan men – in 1925, women – since 1945.
Women’s representation in national parliaments (% of total MPs)
Lower or single House
Upper House or Senate
(“World classification,” 2012)
The data show that many countries have achieved the representation of women in parliament at one third or more of the total number of deputies. For the second half XX century, the percentage of women in the legislative bodies in countries with parliaments, increased by 4 times. According to statistics from Inter-Parliamentary Union, Russia shares the 84 place with Guinea-Bissau, 85 took the Cameroon. In terms of the participation of women at the highest levels of representative government have left us far behind not only the European countries of the CIS, and Tajikistan (17.5%), Uzbekistan (17.5%, Turkmenistan (16%), Kazakhstan (15.9%).
By the number of women MPs leading Scandinavia (33 to 40% of MPs). Approximately at the same level in these countries is the representation of women in the municipal government and the provincial parliament. In the European Parliament from 12 EU countries elected 28% women members. The Norwegian labor party and the social democratic party of Denmark uses a quota system, according to which 40% of the party’s candidate in the elections must be women. Among the ministerial positions in Norway eight are held by women ( Ballington & Karam, 2005). The country has a social “equality programs”, in the government – authorized by observing the law and following to the program
European experience shows that a very large role of the parties in promoting women’s political participation. Contemporary Sociological studies have noticed a trend that most of the women recently elected to the European Parliament from left parties – the socialist, social democratic and green parties.
Today in Russia is still continuing debate regarding the mechanisms of including women in power: first of all was discussed the mechanism of quotas. Method of quota was domestic inventions: being first employed in Soviet Russia, he allowed a short time to solve two problems at once – to get women to specialized secondary and higher education and become a reliable tool in the promotion of the parties and Soviet government.
In Sweden, starting in 1994 the political parties, going to the elections, include in their electoral lists the same number of men and women. The result of the work done today is impressive: Sweden – the first country in the world where in the government 50% of women. In Norway, the law on quotas applies to all civil society organizations and women’s participation in management. ( Ballington & Karam, 2005). French law for political parties taking part in elections provided the rate at which the list of candidates should not be more than 50% of the same gender. Quota of female representation in the election introduced in Argentina and India. In Brazil, Greece, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Peru, Indonesia, Paraguay, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro in parliament place is reserved for women.
Attitude towards women politicians in Russia
The women’s movement in Russia is very ambitious, politically active and professionally organized. One of the major achievements inA Russia in the last decade, has been changing views of the power elite and public opinion on the interests and status of women, reflected in the provision of Russians adaptation to the changing conditions of life on the basis of their gender differences. Gender Equality Strategy is regarded as the foundation and basis for the construction of a civil society in Russia.
Conducted by one of the magazine sociological survey on “Women and Politics”, which was attended by representatives of the administration, business leaders, representatives of political parties, social movements and the different categories of the population has once again confirmed the status quo. Response to the question “Do you think the policy – is a woman’s business?” 38% answered categorically in the negative way. Statements within the meaning of the respondents arguments “against” form three main groups:
the main things for women – home, family, children;
woman in their psychological characteristics cannot be involved in politics;
politics corrupts women, they lose themselves as representatives of the fair gender.
Active opposition to women in politics have expressed not only by men but also by women, not just by older people with outdated views, but by young people aged 17 to 30 years as well.
The main arguments “for” the presence of women in politics are:
a constitutional right of women;
need for balance of interests;
policy – a common cause;
a manifestation of civic responsibility, regardless of gender, etc.
Supporters of equal opportunities policies listed qualities of women are needed in politics: the mind, judgment, responsibility and caution, realism, natural goodness, intuition and humanity, friendliness, flexibility and diplomacy, etc. However, they also point out that the actually standing close to power women do not determine policy.
To successfully compete with men, women must be much gifted males and not too feminine. As sociologists note, to the top of the power come only women who have a hard choice: educated, having a support for a political party or a family tradition – a career father a husband, but rather the wealthy, who had an outstanding personal qualities, often elderly, when gender will shock nobody. Furthermore, a woman who goes into politics must be courageous.
The trend of strengthening the role of women in politics until the election of their presidents and prime ministers now slowly is becoming more popular and common all other the world. All modern developed countries move to a new, modern state functions at the growing demands of the population to the quality of life of the society and the transition to a new stage of development.
The gradual changes of roles of the modern state has formed a hard request to change the balance between male and female in the management of the state and create a more effective mechanism of government ruling at all levels. Because of that the promotion of women in power being examined as a tool of a stable, humane and sustainable society as real equality between men and women change the priorities of the state policy, the life of the country. Statistics show that states that have in their parliaments and governments of less than 25-30% of women who do not deal well with the problems of child health, maternity and child rights, social protection. And this points to the fact that respect for and promotion of human rights under the basic democratic demands are not met in full.
The most of researches suggests that women’s participation in governance at all levels will stabilize the country. Optimally, if women made up 30-40% in the structures of power, the society will be developing more stable and will be socially oriented.
Although women in the twentieth century were enfranchised, but still we do not see gender parity in many European parliaments. In half of them the representation of women does not exceed 14%. The average figure is around 21-22% more – in the Nordic countries. Historically, can trace the following pattern: enfranchised in 1906, women were actively come to the legislature, but by 1930-40 in the European Parliament has been some decline in their representation. Sharp jerk occurs only in the 1970 and after this period, the situation is stabilized: not falling or rising, held at somewhere around 35%. (Finland is an exception – 41, 5%). None of the countries have not been able to move beyond the optimal boundary of 50%.
Meanwhile, the participation of women MPs in parliament and other representative bodies is extremely important not only for women, but for society as a whole. Practice shows that for women, such issues as the environment, child protection, health care, social security, etc., at the periphery of the interests of men. If the position of the political activity of women will not change, it is a democratic society which is now under construction in Russia, will be democracy without women and for women. It will be a democracy with certain patriarchal sense. Indeed, the low representation of women in politics would have the effect of reproduction not of a democratic political culture.
And if the political parties consider themselves as modern and democratic, then they need to ask themselves questions and follow their activity to equal opportunities to participate in the policy of all citizens, regardless of gender, and to consider parity representation of women in power structures as one them the indicators of social justice and equality in society.