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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Women of Russia: Seeking to Balance Men in Power

Higher pensions for the elderly, better charity laws and a serious economic program - that is what Russia needs according to the top candidate of the country's first women's political party, Women of Russia.


These are not radical feminists, but they have a special view of how reforms can be effected in Russia -it requires women in positions of authority.


"A lot of men support us because they too understand that it is better to have a woman in power than to have a lot of men shoot each other with guns", said Alevtina Fedulova, the party's leader, who formerly headed the Soviet Women's Committee among a number of other former Communist Party organizations.


Fedulova said her party of "centrists" opposed the present government's rapid reform policies, but she was unclear as to what kind of financial program should be implemented to heal Russia's ailing economy.


"The current government wants to install a market economy at any price", said Fedulova in an interview Wednesday. "Reforms and a market economy are not important. It is the individual who is important".


Unable to find a party which shared their views, three women's groups decided that the only way to have a voice was to launch a party of their own.


Women of Russia - formed by the Women's Union, the Association of Business Women and the Russian Navy Women's Association - have combined their forces and hope to win 10 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections.


The goal of the coalition, according to Fedulova, is to bring women into the government in order to balance the power and change the current line of politics.


During their television advertisement campaign, the 36 candidates from 21 regions of Russia stressed that they were just as diverse as the other parties. Lawyers, economists, artists, teachers, doctors and others who want "a strong Russia, a ban on pornography and crime, and a state guarantee of affordable education and health care".


But the exact platform of this bloc founded jointly by the wives of navy officers, former communist activists and women business owners is hard to pin down.


"We were formed very quickly", acknowledged Fedulova, who has been head of the Women's Union for the past three years. "We had to unite in order to rescue ourselves".


The recently dissolved parliament was only 5. 4 percent female and there are almost no women in President Boris Yeltsin's government, Fedulova pointed out.


"Half of the population is female, so half of the parliament should be female", she reasoned. "How can there be democracy without women? "


The fact that 70 percent of Russia's unemployed are women and that on average women's salaries are a third lower than those of their male counterparts are issues which Fedulova, 53, said need priority.


"If a woman gets pregnant, there is no social guarantee that she will not get fired", said Fedulova. "It is issues like these which have to be solved".


Fedulova was evasive on Yeltsin's draft constitution, however. When asked if people should vote for or against the draft charter, she said that people should "decide themselves".