This is the Part 6 of my weekly series about Russian women. The women who have my greatest respect are the bold, who have taken the painful step from a bureaucratic stagnation and are adapting to the new realities in a dynamic competitive economy. Some come fresh out of university, or from academia or government bureaucracy, where they enjoyed a level of prestige and a comfortable job but an uncomfortable life. In a new world that rewards deeds, not diplomas, those who have taken that step, and persevered, are not only surviving, they are prospering.
It is often the Russian women who are making this rapid adaptation, taking the jump and winning the new game. In the process, the men often are left behind in lower paying jobs. When the woman brings home more bread than the man, strains can occur in a society as chauvinistic as Russia’s. The vehicle of the new age of Russia is world commerce, and the catalyst is the English language–as it is worldwide. The women are holding important jobs in Western companies bringing in higher incomes than their men, vacationing in Spain, shopping in the designer stores on Tverskaya and Nevsky, and ordering from Land’s End and Victoria’s Secrets. The emasculated man is tempted toward increased indolence, resentment, alcoholism, even child and wife abuse.
And with all this progress, a friend said still the real decisions of Russia are made in the banya, the steam bath, amongst old friends, survivors of the male-dominated past. In spite of these barriers, the young women today are rising to the top, running large companies and serious budgets, even getting their MBAs in America or Europe. They are the new heroes in Russia.
Stay tuned for more on these amazing people.