Elena Mikhailovna Yastrebova Yastrebova Elena Mikhailovna
Vice-President of the non-commercial partnership of "Handicraft Chamber of Vidnoye", Member of the Council of the Regional public organization "Women's Initiative"

"I am not a pessimist but I think that the real equality of women in Russia can come true only in 20-30 years when a new independent generation of Russian women who will understand their value, will grow up and enter the gender scene."

What do you think about different aspects of women's leadership in politics, social life and business in Russia today?

Russian women are slowly "wakening up" from the 70-years socialist oblivion and from the heat of the first years of Perestroika. We just begin to notice the first sprouts, results of the activities of women's NCO's and single women - representatives of the different sectors of national economy. These gentle "sprouts" of women's self-consciousness and self-appraisal need some more care and attention.

Market economy, dynamics of social development, and globalization as opportunity of knowing the women's situation abroad sometimes encourage and sometimes even force Russian women to take a more active social and professional position. In case women start a business, they accurately, safely and successfully complete it; they do not come to a stop on the half-way and always go forward. In that way, they make themselves; discover new features of their often exceptional personalities.

However, it is one side of the medal, the other side - public recognition of the woman as equal participant of the social and economical transformations is not here yet. I am not a pessimist but I think that the real equality of women in Russia can come true only in 20-30 years when a new independent generation of Russian women who will understand their value, will grow up and enter the gender scene.

What is your opinion of the initiative "Vital Voices"?

Very positive and enthusiastic. After I received message about "Vital Voices" I immediately started to think about this initiative in spite of current business. As we think, it will strengthen the positive constituent of women's image and will help them to integrate into processes of social partnership more harmoniously and give new democratic impulse to the public way of thinking and actions not only towards women.

What is your personal or your organization's contribution to support and promotion of women? How could the non-commercial partnership "Handicraft Chamber of Vidnoye" (VPR) help the women entrepreneurs and craftswomen?

The whole range of activities of our organization (I am Vice President of VPR) and its main goals (revival of handicraft and support of small businesses) is closely connected with the solution of this problem. From 1998 the guild of women entrepreneurs is existing in Vidnoye. Now we are preparing on the local cable TV of Vidnoy the series about craftswomen and women entrepreneurs who became successful in business and personal development.

The local public organization "Women's Initiative" (I am member of the Council and presenter of the women's club "Vidnovchanka") should and can strengthen lobbying of women's interests. Our small but united circle should influence stronger making of decisions concerning women.

What is the target group of your support?

In addition to the above mentioned, I would like to emphasize the fact that the "Handicraft Chamber" is supporting women with artistic flair and skills. To raise their spirits and well-being and under support of administration of Lenin district of the Moscow region now we are opening the show-room. We will present there for the wide public embroidery, beadworks, rod-weaved things, carvings etc. The show room will become theplace for meetings, discussions, chamber concerts and celebrations, the place of the live dialogue of various kinds of art and culture, citizens and officials, men and women.

What actions could help the society to change existing stereotypes standing in the way of women's self-realization? And what are the ways for involvement of women into political, economical and social life of the country?

To change the society in an inordinate length of time we should already now start the educational work - with children in kindergartens and in schools. Teachers and tutors should use all the methods (educational, playing, cultural) to teach boys and girls to the equality, to conduct special lessons on the equality, to build the complete pedagogical work taking into account all these accents.

To achieve the effect in the nearest perspective we have to extend the network of crisis centers for women and to organize more schools of women's leadership. With time, it will lead to the qualitative break through in the Russian women's movement, which cannot go unnoticed by our society.

Perhaps, we should organize a big national event (festival?), which would highlight the true contribution of women into progress of Russia and the whole mankind.

What ways of partnership are possible between women leaders of political and commercial structures and women's social initiatives?

Forms of partnership - round tables, women's expert councils presenting all the parties, reception rooms for women, organized together by women politicians, businesswomen and representatives of women's organizations.