…and missing the other edge by a few $ grand in the difference of salaries. Very few, if any at all, “first-world” countries can pride themselves on the non-existence of a salary gender gap. It exists in the U.S., it exists in Europe, it”s been around for quite a while.
Moscow is not a true representation of all Russia, but it comes quite close to being a symbol of some discrimination that still exists in terms of gender. For this mini-snapshot of the gender issues that roam the plains/mountains/else land formations of Russia, Moscow is a region significant enough because of its economic importance and rather progressive working environment, while representative of the possible extreme extent of gender-based discrimination in Russian Federation. For this issue, I went on the Russian internet sites (Runet) and searched for job listings in Moscow. First website to appear in the list of links was rabota-v-moskve.ru (literally means work-in-moscow.ru).
Ok, look at list of jobs available. Click on the professional section of “Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations.” Aha, four openings, all in different enterprises. Out of four, among the openings, three require some experience, same three require a bachelor’s degree, and one of these three requires the candidate to be male (1). The oldest of the four listings dates back to July 2008, making this insight into the Russian job market rather fresh, isn’t it? Then why the outdated discrimination of job candidates based on their gender?
Below is a picture from Soviet times, depicting a woman working in road construction. Salaried agencies, such as Department of Transportation, were paid in strict hierarchy depending on one’s qualification and job duties, not gender, not age. (6)
In 2007, the official numbers concerning the “discriminatory” job postings were as follows: 44% of the national total job postings in printed material/media contained some discriminatory clause (defined as “based on age, gender, nationality, living location”), while in Moscow this number was up to 60%. Apparently, I was not the only one struck by the seemingly omnipresent selection of job candidates based on qualification as much as their life attributes. The Federal Agency of Employment and Labor and the Federal Anti-monopoly agency (Федеральная служба по труду и занятости (Роструд) и Федеральная антимонопольная служба (ФАС)) promised to start moving towards the removal of discriminatory requirements in job postings (2). They admitted in 2007 that such discrimination has surpassed any tolerable level, but also admitted that internet job search resources are hardest to oversee. While the official company job posting will have no extra requirements aside from qualifications, the internet job description will have more details, such as the gender and age of the desirable employee.
According to the National Statistics Bureau (Rosstat), women received approximately 61% of the salary of men working the equivalent job position in 2007- a quantitative decrease compared to the pre-1998 crisis number of 65%. (2)
For Russia, though, the main issue of discrimination is age and not gender. Getting rid of age-based discrimination is a priority because, as of right now, the most widespread discrimination in the hiring process discriminates is based on age. Of the four job postings we looked at, all four set 40 years old as the maximum age limit, while one of them went as low as 25 years of age.
However, one can’t help but to notice the apparent equal division between 2 genders when it comes to jobs that involve any kind of construction – from road to building, engineering, and production as well as services. This can all be traced to the fact that in Russia, the equivalent of Rosie the Riveter never had to go back to the kitchen when the war was over – because so many millions of men did not come back, she stayed in the workplace, even though now the new-age modern economy is trying to kick them out of the sunny place in the labor market.
Russia still has a ways to go when compared to Vienna, where the municipal government is trying to push for equal representation of both genders on street walk signs as well as emergency exit markings. The example of such picture is in the header for the issue, as one might guess.(3)
The photograph below was taken in Ukraine of 1943 – women loading stones onto vehicles for road construction. No further comment (4)
Other than things haven’t changed much since then. Women are still in road construction, but the free market system while coming in also brought more explicit discrimination.