Titarenko L. G. Gender imbalance or growth of gender equality? // Woman in Russian Society. 2020. No.1 . P. 17-28.


Belarus ranks high in the world gender equality index. However, this does not mean that in practice gender balance has been already achieved. The process is hampered by traditional stereotypes and paternalistic rhetoric. The goal of the article is to demonstrate the gender imbalance that first of all appears as an unexpected consequence of growth of the number of women in the sphere of the higher education. This sphere is considered to be among the most advanced in gender equality, however, mass higher education available for all who can pay stimulates gender imbalance among the graduates: most of them are women. They cannot find proper employment because of imbalance between the number of women-graduates and the market demands for the most popular “feminist” professions: pedagogical, humanitarian, economic, juridical and the like. This phenomenon generates new social problems and produ¬ces new gender inequalities. A second sphere of visible gender imbalance is labor market. Gender imbalance is maintained by the continuing gender division in the labor market and the existence of the so called “glass ceiling”. Third, gender imbalance exists in family domain where social policy provides several benefits to women stimulating their roles as mothers. The official rhetoric disseminated by the state media and the socialization mechanisms imposes the idea that the main task of every woman is to deliver babies. This way women are consi¬dered as active subjects only in demographic sphere of a society. On the basis of statistical analysis, the author concludes that the growth of gender equality takes place only if it does not interfere with the interests of the market economy. However, the mass higher education stimulates gender imbalance, and the labor market does not need a large number of specialists in a number of specialties chosen by women. The country’s economic priorities differ in practice with the official social policy in regard to gender, they generate new types of gender inequality. The achieved high ranks in women’s life expectancy, education and number of sits in the parliament does not automatically provide gender balance. This situation is not completely speci¬fic for Belarus. On the contrary, it is common. Market interests are an insurmountable barrier for the paternalistic social policy everywhere in the world. Belarusian state itself plays in the market and strives to achieve economic profit more than to achieve gender equality in the everyday life.
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