Gender Issues in Russian Democratization: The Myth or the Reality?
7 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019
Date Written: April 25, 2019
The aim is to determine whether the descriptive political representation of women is acceptable and achievable for the Russian political reality. Understanding the quality of democracy assumes going beyond mere political participation. It requires the actual representation of traditionally marginalized groups - women. Gender mainstreaming and the involvement of both sexes in political sphere is a sine qua non for any democratic structure. In fact, it may seem that women are included in the democracy, but in practice they are often excluded. Such situation is observed in Russia. The formal female representation in Russian politics exists only to eliminate direct discrimination against women. This nature of women's participation is confirmed by the fact that “women are involved in Russian politics to meet the needs of the regime.” The low level of female representation is also linked to the lack of prominent political parties supporting women's rights. Formal female representation does not imply equal gender representation. Balanced representation may require a descriptive political representation – a visible match between the electorate and representatives. If women are half of the population, they should also compose approximately half of the legislative and executive bodies. Given the nature of the gender situation in the Russian political arena, it is not yet possible to represent marginalized groups in a descriptive manner, even though women are about 54% of the Russian population. The inclusion of women's issues in the agenda and mainstreaming of gender inequality is likely to make the descriptive female representation in Russia achievable.
Keywords: women, Russia, democratization, formal and descriptive representation, gender
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