Svetlana Grigorievna Aivasova Aivasova Svetlana Grigorievna
Doctor of political Science, chief research officer of the Institute of comparative political science

"According to the latest surveys 56% of our citizens consider that women should go to big politics. This is a very high index of the changes in the mass opinion."

"Our women politicians do not dare to support women's slogans and women's style of acting in politics."

"Education, education and one more time education."

"Failure of each woman, who is on the top of the power, - this is the failure of the whole process of political promotion of women and failure of the development of democracy in the country."

Briefly about myself:

I am engaged in the research of the women's movement in Russia and in the West since the end of 80-s. In addition, I am consulting various women's organizations. I worked as expert of the fraction "Women of Russia" in the State Duma. I am working as expert on political issues with the movement "Women of Russia" and with the Consortium of Women's Non-governmental Organizations. During all these years I published three books - "Women and Society in Russia", "Russian Women in the Labyrinth of Equal Rights", "Men and Women at the Elections" and numerous articles on women's history issues.

My attitude to women's leadership:

Business is a very interesting and important issue. Let us start with the women's leadership in business. Many women are in small business now. Everybody knows that namely women (jobless, army officers' wives) started so called "shuttle-business". The number of women in the medium-size business is much lower. Moreover, the number of women in the big business is very small. And they are very often covering up the shady leaders. Why did it happen? When the property in the country has beeing redistributed, there were no women at power. People who knew where mortgage auctions were held and by what rules the game was played took everything more or less valuable. Everything was in hands of the members of the communist party. There were only few women in the communist nomenclature and they did not reach the top of the party structures. Perhaps some of them will cut their way into the big business but certain period should pass until this moment.

In the political sphere. In the power structures, we have the situation, which is called by experts "gender pyramid". At the bottom of that pyramid, in the institutions of local governing, where there are no cash flows and no real power, many women are employed. Researcher from Arkhangelsk region, Mrs. E.V. Kudryashova, Ph.D., calculated that in the most depressive districts of Arkhangelsk region (for example Solovetsky Islands) there are app. 82% women of workers of the institutions of local governing. But already on the next level of the regional power there are much less women busy. In the structure of the State Duma women make up only 7%. In all the regional legislative bodies, women are represented by only 9%. There are regions, where there is not a single women represented in the legislative bodies. Why the percentage of women in power in some regions is substantial and in other, there are no women on power at all? Natural barriers for promotion of women into power exist. The first one is connected with traditional attitude to power, which was typical in the beginning of 90-s. The communist ideology passed away and people remembered and begun to follow traditional guiding lines of the social status of man and woman. For example, during the elections to the top legislative power bodies: according to the prevalent considerations of the voters, the top power bodies are not the right place for women. Power is a men's thing. Although, according to the latest questionings, 56% of our population thinks, that women should go for big politics. This is a very important index of the changes in the mass opinion. There is always a gap between the declared values and real people's behavior. In the reality, they behave and think in the old traditional way. According to the latest surveys of the social opinion we have now one more interesting number: 64% of the recipients think, that it is more important for their daughters to make a carrier than to get married. Only 27% think that marriage is the most important thing to do. It did not happen before. These two indexes show us that women can occupy leading positions. This fact raises hopes.

About the initiative "Vital Voices":

I took part in a very interesting conference in Reykjavik. It was extremely interesting for Russian women politicians, because they are very few and act in a manner of men politicians. Our women politicians who do not dare to support women's slogans and women's style of political behavior can learn at such the conferences about what is the modern woman politician, and how she should achieve that the social problems become priority in the politics in general and in the legislation in particular. From that point of view, the potential of the initiative program "Vital Voices" is extremely significant. I am managing the Gender Section of the Russian Association of Political Science. In the last decade I was in charge of such issues as women leaders, women's education on mass media. I am cooperating with the school "Praktika" (Nizhniy Novgorod) where TV personnel is retrained. More than 200 people went through this program. We have there a special program of gender education connected with the women's leadership. I am working with the help of the gender section on the political education of women leaders, women personnel of mass media and women voters. Education, which is connected with the current political process in Russia.

About the ways to make women more active:

Education, education and one more time education.

As well as promotion of women and support after they have been promoted to the certain position. Failure of each woman, who is on the top of the power, - this is the failure of the whole process of political promotion of women and failure of the development of democracy in the country. In the frames of our program we are working out new scientific approach to the specifics of women leadership. First of all we have to make research on what is going on in reality, what is electorate expecting, what is the image of a woman leader today. This is an invisible work.

About the partnership:

Forms of the partnership are just developing now. These are conferences, seminars, initiatives and even joint trips. This is the same Reykjavik where representatives of the executive and legislative power and activists of the women's organizations have been. The dialogue there did not stop for a minute: small meetings and we have stayed at the same hotel. It is important, that women from different structures take steps toward each other. Appreciation of the valuable roles of women from different structures is a very complicated process and we are still in the beginning of a road - because the distance between power and citizens is traditionally very big. We underestimate difficulties of that issue. Moreover, the changes made in this sphere play the most significant role for development of democracy in our country.