Professions Russian Women Are Excelling In
Updated: Sep 24, 2022
For many living in the United States, their perceptions of Russia are limited to what is taught in schools – mostly, the terrifying legacy of the Cold War. However, Russia is so much more than those narrow, biased impressions. For one thing, it’s a nation full of ambitious women who are entering the workforce and making significant contributions in their fields.
Due to the many stereotypes and challenges facing women, the concept of professional self-realization is a difficult topic to delve into. Many start bringing up the “social purpose” of women, or begin to question the realities of gender inequality. Despite the work done by Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg, there is a long way to go. But, despite certain legal restrictions (see Note below), Russian women can work in almost any profession and succeed in every business. The only requirements are the desire and motivation to build a career.
Note: There are about 100 professions in Russia that are legally banned to women, including what are considered “harmful and physically difficult” careers such as mining, logging, and the military. Activists continue the fight for full equality.
Since the early 1900s in Russia, women have participated at all levels of the corporate, working world. In western cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg, women have found personal success as directors and leaders at massive corporations. There are also those who have internalized their role as caregivers, and believe that earning a living is, or should be, a purely male pursuit. These women often devote themselves to the family – that is, raising children. More recent generations are finding a work-life balance that allows them to pursue their life goals, both personal and professional.
We’ve compiled a list of ten professions that Russian women are excelling in. As we continue our work, this is the kind of information we reference when preparing our students for their futures.
Designers are specialists who makes life more beautiful and convenient. This profession includes fashion, interior, web, landscape, and industrial designers. According to the Portal Superjob popularity rating, being a designer is an enviable position. This is a well-paid, "dust-free" job, where you need to love art and think creatively. Many creative people describe this profession not as “work”, but as a “passion”. However, designers must often endure situations like overloaded days and creative block; as entrepreneurs, they may experience periods with no clients. The life of a designer is as difficult as the life of other specialists in intellectual work.
Medical professions are a significant area of women’s success: gynecologist, dentist, anesthesiologist, pediatrician, pharmacist, cosmetologist, nurse … the list of jobs goes on and on! After receiving a medical education, many women go on to build a career and become head doctors or Ministers of Health. At this point, women are free to conduct primary research or open their own clinics. In medicine, there is broad potential for self-realization in various positions and specialties. As a bonus, these skills will help their own families, when loved ones – human or animal – need attention. However, the downsides are also many. Doctors joke that before the age of thirty they study, and after forty, they die from stress or an unexpected illness. Although this is not entirely true, doctors do have to study medicine for many years. Those who make it to retirement maintain their status as cherished members of the community.
3. Care Specialist
In Russia, like in most countries, a majority of the charitable foundations are led by women. The socially valued traits of warmth and empathy create the perception that women are naturals for care-based professions. Many care specialists work as nurses and nannies, in hospices and nursing homes, and also help people at home. For many in this industry, the desire to help and change a person's life for the better make the long hours and stressful work environment worthwhile.
Another vocation that calls for helping others is the teaching and development of the younger generation. There are more women than men among kindergarten teachers, teachers of basic and continuing education, and professors in colleges and universities. Unfortunately, despite how vitally important this profession is, Russia, like the United States, lags behind in the level of salaries of educators. Teachers and professors often find themselves with additional hours tutoring, consulting, or working a second job to make ends meet. In our organization, we do our part to make sure our teachers are paid fairly.
On the opposite side, there is the field of technology. Programmers create program code for technical devices – from computers to conveyors. Among these developers, women make up a small portion. When asked, these women said that, despite the fact that the computer does not see gender, it is widely believed that women make good testers because they are more focused, pay more attention to design, and therefore make fewer mistakes. These women consider this an advantage and continue making waves in the industry.
6. Flight Attendant
For many, being a flight attendant is a very romantic idea. It is also one that does not require a higher education, while making the world accessible. However, flight attendants must have a tidy appearance, understand diplomacy, have a working knowledge of English, and be in good health. In addition, the competition pool is very large and few get into the industry before the age of 19. Therefore, many hoping to become flight attendants do end up in college and hone the necessary skills for their dream job.
7. Brand Manager
Brand managers are responsible for the positioning of products and the creation of value in the eyes of the consumer. For example, have you heard of IKEA? Technically, is it a furniture store? For many customers, IKEA embraces / epitomizes a philosophy of the simple comforts of life. IKEA supports family shopping, and makes inexpensive and high-quality pieces. IKEA’s brand managers have already won over the world! Through their work, brand managers build connection with their audience, so that the purchase is not just physical, but emotional as well. Many women come to brand management through marketing, communications, or public relations.
8. Marketing Specialist
Marketing specialists are professionals who build product strategies for promoting goods and services. Their task is not just to sell a product once, but to increase the company's profitability in the long term. Marketing specialists are often experts in social media and search engine optimization. These women understand the intricate workings of the internet, and how their target users and buyers can be reached. In general, marketing specialists are able to work remotely, allowing them to travel or keep a positive work-life balance.
9. Stylists and Cosmetologists
Becoming a stylist is a choice for many women who do not go to college. For many 9th and 11th grade girls, this is a financial decision – they need to join the workforce in order to help support the family. Most stylists are responsible for hair and makeup, and sometimes attire. Successful stylists may work on television sets, for magazines, and personally with clients. While some do go on to get a degree in "Hairdressing Art", "Design", or "Make-Up Artist", many women study independently and receive certificates by taking master classes.
10. Fitness Trainer
Many women have found success by developing a personal brand as fitness-centric individuals, and building a livelihood in personal training. Many others go on to study anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and diet, and apply their learning in a scientific way to meet the needs of their clients. It is important that fitness trainers study safety precautions to ensure that their clients exercise safely. Women who choose this career leverage their sociability and positivity to motivate and encourage the people they work with.
As a country and a society, Russia is still struggling to overcome the stereotypes that women are better at emotional management, more diligent and attentive, and are willing to work for a lower salary. Girls Education Nation makes it our goal to support women in all of the directions they choose to pursue, and give them the skills and tools they need to be successful, both today and tomorrow.
Through this blog, we were able to support local Russian digital artists in Siberia. All of the artwork featured here was created by our artist partners.