Make Russian women good women



As shown above (see Table 3), Russian women are primarily satisfied with the non-material aspects of their life, while they are not satisfied with their standard of living. Nevertheless, the majority of them are more satisfied than dissatisfied with their life. However, this does not change the general, extremely problematic picture of the life of the Russian woman, who has to overcome quite a few difficulties in order to normalize her life situation. For many of them, life is a permanent struggle for existence, a struggle "for survival".

As can be seen in Graph 4, over 80% of women have serious reasons that prevent them from living their lives normally. Even among women who consider they are living normally (17.9%), far from all are free from all problems.

It can also be seen from the graph that the problems that worry Russian women primarily concern those areas of everyday life with which they were most dissatisfied. These are a poor material situation, housing problems, job problems, the lack of social guarantees and a lack of leisure opportunities. The poor material situation, which was discussed a lot in the previous section, depends on the age. The age group between 31 and 40, i.e. in a phase of life during which families usually have underage children, is most frequently affected by this problem (56.2%).

Also Housing problems are very acute for Russian women. It should be noted that 7.1% of all women surveyed live in dormitories, 5.9% rent an apartment, 31.1% live with their parents, 1.5% with relatives, 2.3% in communal apartments and only 40 , 2% own apartments and 11.9% are apartment or house owners. However, housing problems are of particular concern in the group between 21 and 25 years of age (in this group, 39.5% cited housing problems as one of the reasons why they called their life unregulated). Most women get married at the age mentioned, and the young families are confronted with a housing shortage. This is completely understandable when you consider that in this age group over 20% live in dormitories or rent accommodation, 47.1% live with their parents and 3.3% with relatives and only about a quarter of all women in this group have their own apartment own an apartment (19.3%, 6.6% part of a house or a house and 3.3% live in communal apartments). In the group between 26 and 30 years of age, these values ​​improve somewhat, mainly thanks to the doubling of the number of owners of a condominium (up to 41.3% and 12% as owner of a house or part of a house). Nevertheless, over a quarter of women in this group still live with their parents and 20% in dormitories or rented accommodation.

Graph 4:Main reasons why Russian women think their life is unregulated (in percent)

Problems of a professional nature also have a certain age-specificity and are particularly faced by women in the group under 20 years of age (34.2%), which in turn is linked to the beginning of a new phase of life, namely the search for their own place in the labor market. In addition, older women are also very worried about job problems. The decisive role in the other age groups, however, is played by the status of the occupation of women.

In addition to the problems that turn the everyday life of Russian women into a permanent struggle for survival, various other fears and fears also play a role in the worsening of their socio-psychological situation. First and foremost among them are the fear of losing their health, the fear of becoming penniless, the fear of possible terrorist attacks or the outbreak of wars, the fear that their own child will become addicted to drugs, and also worries about a lack of per-

prospects for one's own children, fear of unemployment and a lack of opportunities to get a good education for oneself or for one's own children, the sharp rise in rental prices and unclear future prospects. All other fears and worries were mentioned by less than 20% of the women surveyed (see Figure 5).

Graph 5: What are Russian women afraid of in particular (in percent)?

They deserve special attention fears associated with children the women. They are so serious that a kind of sword of Damocles hangs over the Russian women. A total of 15% of women in Chechnya fear an extension of military operations, but in the group of women who have sons between the ages of 14 and 27 this figure is over 50%.

If on average a quarter of the women surveyed are afraid that they will not be able to provide their children with a good education, this value is around a third among those who have underage children and exceeds the limit of 50% in families with three or more children. Assuming that a lack of prospects for children is one of the most important fears of almost 40% of women who have children and almost 50% of those who have three or more children, it becomes clear that Russian women have the future prospects of their children combine closely with a good education. And this means that the lack of opportunity mentioned by a significant proportion of women

Providing their children with the education they need means that their children will have to live just as difficult lives as they do themselves.

Another real nightmare for women is the spread of drug use among children and adolescents. Over 40% of women with children, regardless of their age, are afraid of this problem, which is new to Russia. And in the group of those who have children over 10 years of age, more than half of the women already feel a corresponding fear. Even more: Almost 16% of married women who have not yet had children are already afraid that their child could become addicted to drugs. It can be assumed that this fact also plays a role in the decision of a certain number of women whether they want to have children at all.

Given the real situation in the country and the nature of the fears that plague Russian women, it is not surprising that only 5% of Russian women feel no fears or worries at all. Even with the wealthiest, this figure is only 9-12%. This means that practically all groups of Russian women are characterized by very high levels of worry.


Striving to get to know not just a significant other, but a loved and decent person is one of the primary interests of the majority of Russian women. As already mentioned (Table 1), finding true love belongs in the circle of life plans of an overwhelming proportion of Russian women. Every second (50.1%) is of the opinion that they have already realized their plans in this regard, while the rest are still waiting for the right man for "true love".

Graph 6:Self-assessment of your success in finding true love (in percent)

The degree of realization of their claims in relation to love, as well as other life plans, depends above all on that Age of women together. In contrast to the assessments of their success in founding a happy family, making good friends and bringing up children, an increase in the successes assessed as such in finding a beloved man is only seen among women between the ages of 30 and 40 to observe. At the age of 41-50, only 53.7% of women think that they have found true love in their life, and 27.9% no longer believe in finding it.

The decline in assessments of their personal possibilities on the "love front" is in many respects linked to their richer social and, above all, marriage experience among women of the older generations. Compared to all other groups, women who have already experienced divorce rate their success in finding true love much more dramatically. Among them, only 15.2% think there was "true love" for them and 34.8% would like to find it, but doubt that it will be possible. A negative marriage experience not only darkens the assessment of the past, but also robs women of future hopes.

For the majority of Russian women, the problem of love is closely related to the problem of marriage, and for many of them the term "true love" is inseparable from a successful marriage. It is therefore no coincidence that our study found most of those who have already found true love among married women. Neither "marriage without a certificate" nor the existence of a steady partner receive such high ratings as "true love" (see Table 9).

Table 9: Self-assessment of the success of married and unmarried women in their search for true love (in percent)

Found true love:


Living together without a marriage license

Fixed partner

Already achieved




Not yet achieved, but this is possible




Would like to achieve this, but hardly think it possible




Is not a goal in life




In addition to being married, the Character of intra-family relationships a not insignificant influence on the assessment of their success in the search for true love by women. The survey data show that the most significant differentiation in assessments of one's own success in love is related to the different roles of men and women in the family, primarily in relation to ensuring their material well-being. The Russian women, who themselves are the main breadwinners in the family, are extremely critical of the results of their search for love. Only 29.4% of them think they have found true love. At 28.8%, this group of women also has the highest proportion of those who do not believe in their success in love in the near future. Conversely, the share lies among the women in whose families the husband's income is the financial support

of those who think that their husband is their "true love", at 78.8%, more than twice as much as among the "self-sufficient women".

In the self-assessment of their successes in the field of love, which is mainly perceived by the majority of Russian women through the prism of marriage and family, the Number of conflicts in the relationship with the man fundamental importance. Frequent conflicts with the spouse greatly reduce the women's assessment of their success in private life. Among those whose relationship with their husbands is characterized by frequent conflict, only 37.1% think they can find true love. In families where conflict is intermittent but not permanent, 71% of women believe they have already found their true love.

So in the eyes of Russian women love allows a certain amount of conflict between men and women. Furthermore, by no means all conflicts between spouses influence women's perceptions of their private life. If conflicts are rare and are connected with differences of opinion in relation to raising children, the relationship between the parents of one of the spouses, certain financial priorities or the decision on how to spend their free time, this does not change the positive assessment of their success in love by the women (see graph 7).

Graph 7:Proportion of women who think they have found true love, depending on the causes of intra-family conflicts (in percent)

As can be seen from Figure 7, the main obstacles in the women’s love for their husbands are drunkenness or drug addiction among their chosen ones, as well as infidelity, jealousy and differences in the intellectual and cultural level of the married couple.

It is characteristic that the reasons for the conflicts that prevent women from loving their chosen one are primarily related to the personal characteristics and qualities of men (while conflicts that do not affect love are mainly related to problems of the interaction between men and women Based on their joint activity). How would the Russian woman like to see the people she loves, which qualities, in her opinion, are most important for the ideal man?

The data of the present study show that Russian women undoubtedly contribute a developed mind / intelligence (36.7% named this quality), physical strength and health (36%) and the ability to ensure a material livelihood (34.1%) give priority to a man. In addition, for 28.6% of women, it is of fundamental importance that the men do not have serious bad habits such as alcoholism. The image of the man who could embody the "true love" of women is rounded off by self-confidence (23.1%) and loyalty (21.9%) (see graph 8).

Graph 8:Most important characteristics of the ideal man according to the Russian women (in percent)

In addition, the image of the ideal man differs considerably among women who belong to different social groups and classes. Thus, the fact that a woman has higher education leads her to attach more importance to a high intellectual level of the man. 30.1% of women with an intermediate level of education named intelligence as one of the most important characteristics of the ideal man, 32.7% of those with an intermediate level of specialist training and 49.1% of women with a higher level of education.

Another shift in the direction of the ideal man's image is related to women's income levels. With increasing incomes of women, they give less importance to the "material factor" (37.8% of women named the ability to guarantee a material livelihood from the poorest classes, 36% from the low-income classes, 34% from the middle and lower classes 28.1% of women with high incomes as an important characteristic of the ideal man). But these differences are less significant and changeable (compared to the educational level of women), since the material situation, especially in a transition society, is extremely unstable and the social mobility between the classes with different levels of welfare is very high.

Overall, the image of the ideal man, especially in the area of ​​the most important properties that are supposed to characterize him, such as intelligence, health and the ability to guarantee a material livelihood, is relative in the most diverse groups of women (differentiated by age, socio-economic, etc.) stable and reflects their demands on him not only as a sexual partner, but also as a life partner and "strong shoulder" on which one can lean to rest from everyday worries.

© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | June 2003