Krasnodar, 5 March. Our today’s interviewee is Natalia Kostenko, a State Duma deputy.
Q.: According to many studies, average wages of women still remain lower than those of men. Is this a problem, and if yes how can it be resolved?
A.: I believe that the problem here lies in the fact that for a woman it is more difficult to ask her employer for higher wage, especially if she is married and she understands that she may be facing circumstances when she would have to get distracted from her work quite often because of her child’s illness or other family factors. And this obstacle is hard to overcome – but it is social support of the state that should compensate her for the missed income.
Q.: Are there all conditions available in Russia for a woman to take a decision to give birth to a child?
A.: No, but there are some positive changes, which I am happy with. I believe that the issue of support and strengthening of the family as a public institution is not less important than social support of a mother. I am against juvenile justice, but lately I have been dealing a lot with family conflicts between a husband and a wife, where their children become the hostages of the situation. This is a huge problem, which appears due to t he lack of the culture of communication, and lack of understanding of the essence of the institution of marriage and seriousness of legally documented responsibilities of the spouses. What we need is a system of family, including legal, education of the youth, and psychological and social accompaniment of the families.
Q.: Is the number of women in politics sufficient in Russia? What is the reason for that?
A.: I agree that the number of women is not so high as it should be. But it proves the fact that what Russian women tend to prioritise is their self-realisation as a woman. I do not think that artificially reinforced involvement of women in power may result in some serious breakthroughs in this or that sphere. If in politics, a person must be charged with ideas and desires to change something in the public life, no matter which gender he or she represents.
Q.: Do women add something ‘female’ to politics, or, quite to the contrary, do they have to play the men’s world’s way?
A.: Men, as warriors and hunters, discover, conquer and procure; women, as organisers and guardians of conservative principles, transform them into the households, systems, and home comfort. Of course, in politics nobody would let you go first just because you are a woman. But it does not mean that a woman does not have her place in this ‘men’s world.’ It is important not to compete with men on their men’s field, but to find a place of her own, to find the topics and approaches where it would be difficult for men to compete with women. For instance, we are much more efficient in case of complicated situations that require assiduity or, vice versa, quick solutions. We are more flexible, and can easier readjust ourselves and switch over to a different issue.
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