The Russian Federation is not ranked in the 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index due to missing data for one or more SIGI variables. However, the country note below sets out information and data relating to variables where this is available information. The country was ranked 6 out of 102 in the 2009 Social Institutions and Gender Index.
The country’s Human Development Index (HDI) score in 2011 is 0.755, placing it in 66th place out of a total of 187 countries. The Gender Inequality Index is 0.338, placing it in 59th place out of 146 countries. Russia’s 2011 Global Gender Gap Index ranking is 0.7037, placing it in 43rd place (out of 135 countries).
The minimum legal age for marriage is 18 years for both men and women, but local authorities can authorise marriage from the age of 16 years – and even earlier in some regions – if it is considered to be justified. The United Nations reports that as of 2002, the most recent years for which data is available, 7.7 percent of girls aged between 15 and 19 were married, divorced or widowed. By law, marriage requires the free consent of both spouses, but does not need to be authorised by the bride’s family. Still, a 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey found that 26 percent of respondents still felt that a woman should consult her family on her choice of spouse.
Polygamy is prohibited in Russia, but the practice remains common within many Muslim communities, particularly in the Caucasus region. Only the marriage to the first wife is recorded; subsequent wives are not considered to be legally married.
The Russian Family Code provides for shared parental authority; mothers and fathers have equal rights and responsibilities within the family. In the event of divorce, the vast majority of cases see custody awarded to the mother. If a father fails to pay child support, a court can order it to be deducted directly from his salary.
Russian women and men have the same legal inheritance rights.
 Article 13 of the Family Code; Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1999), Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Russian Federation, Fifth Periodic Report on States Parties, pp. 35-36.  United Nations (UN) (2008), World Marriage Data 2008.  ABA-CEELI 2006, pp. 120-121.  Pew Research Center (2007), Global Attitudes Project, Spring 2007 Survey, Question Q.44.  US Department of State (2010a)  Article 14 of the Family Code; International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (2000), Women 2000: An Investigation Into the Status of Women’s Rights in the Former Soviet Union and Central and South-Eastern Europe-Russian Federation, pp. 377-378;ABA-CEELI 2006, p. 121.  Article 61 of the Family Code; CEDAW 1999, p. 34; ABA-CEELI 2006, p. 121.  Articles 24 and 80 of the Family Code; IHFHR 2000, p. 376.  CEDAW 1999, p. 34; ABA-CEELI 2006, p. 121.
There is no specific legislation to address violence against women: it is included within general legislation covering assault and other violent acts, classifications that are outside the jurisdiction of the Office of the Prosecutor and that require the victim to prosecute their cases ‘privately’. In Russia, rape is punishable by three to six years in prison, with sentences increasing to 8 to 20 years if the victim is a minor under the age of 14 or if she dies. Spousal rape is not specifically criminalised. There is no specific legislation in Russia to penalise domestic violence.
Observers believe that violence against women is on the rise, and that authorities have not taken sufficient action to address the issue.
Rape victims must have their complaints recorded by the police, from whom they must obtain authorisation to be examined by a doctor. In many cases, police often obstruct complaints’ procedures by postponing authorisation for so long that medical examination becomes useless in terms of collecting evidence.
It is difficult to assess the incidence of rape as victims are often reticent to speak out and many withdraw their complaints under the threat of reprisals. To provide some assistance, voluntary organisations have set up shelters for victims and confidential telephone helplines; they also offer legal advice and psychological counseling. Local authorities have established shelters for battered women in some cities, including St Petersburg, but there are no state shelters in Moscow.
There are no official statistics about domestic violence, though it is known to be very common; as many as 30 percent of married women experienced regular violent episodes at the hands of their spouses. A large number of Russian women are killed by their husbands; in 2003, 9,000 women were killed as a result of “family or domestic crimes,” representing 32 percent of all homicides in the country. Further, the police often refuse to record complaints from abused wives. The U.S. State Department, citing observers’ reports, estimates that between 35 and 60 women are killed annually in ‘honor killings’ in the North Caucasus region.
During the second Chechen war in 1999, Russian forces were accused of systematic human rights abuses against women, men and children, including sexual violence. Human trafficking is illegal in Russia, punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment in aggravating circumstances. Nevertheless, a growing number of Russian women are trafficked to work as sex workers to western Europe, Israel and East Asia, although the lack of official statistics make the magnitude of the problem hard to assess. Some sources estimate up to half of these women are unaware that they are being recruited for sex work, and most are subsequently subjected to significant psychological and physical violence. Sexual harassment in the workplace is also common; legal resources to address the issue are lacking and public opinion generally views it as a minor problem. The high level of unemployment in Russia exacerbates the problems of trafficking of women and sexual harassment in the workplace.
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practiced in Russia.
There are signs that the reproductive freedom of Russian women has decreased in recent years. Citing a 2004 state survey, the 2009 United Nations’ Human Development Report for Russia estimated that the rate of women using modern methods of contraceptives as a form of family planning could be as high as 40 percent. This is thirteen points lower than 1999 figures as reported by the United Nations Population Division. The U.S. Department of State reports that reproductive rights advocates and international family planning organizations are unable to operate inside Russia due to opposition from the Orthodox Church and from the government, which has undertaken a nationwide campaign to increase Russian fertility levels. The Russian population has declined by six million since the collapse of the Communist government in 1991. There are no legal restrictions with regards to abortion in Russia.
 Articles 115 and 166 of the Criminal Code; Articles 20 and 318 of the Criminal Procedure Code; ABA-CEELI 2006, pp. 89-90.  Articles 131 and 132 of the Criminal Code; ABA-CEELI 2006, p. 91; State Dept. 2010.  Amnesty (2010), p. 13  CEDAW 1999, p. 38; ECOSOC 2006, p. 9.  ABA-CEELI 2006, pp. 105-106; State Dept. 2010.  ABA-CEELI 2006, pp. 105-106.  CEDAW 1999, p. 22; ABA-CEELI 2006, pp. 102-103; ECOSOC 2006, p. 10.  CEDAW 1999, p. 38.  ABA-CEELI 2006, p. 97, citing data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  CEDAW 1999, p. 38; ABA-CEELI 2006, p. 98.  State Dept. 2010.  Bastick, M., Grimm, K. and Kunz, R. (2007)  Article 127 of the Criminal Code, adopted December 2003; ABA-CEELI 2006, p. 46.  CEDAW 1999, p. 18; ABA-CEELI 2006, p. 48; State Dept. 2010.  ABA-CEELI 2006, pp. 47-48.  ABA-CEELI 2006, pp. 19-20.  ABA-CEELI 2006, pp. 51-52.  Vishnevsky A.G. and S.N. Bobylev, eds. (2009), National Human Development Report, Russian Federation 2008, p. 48.  UN (2009), World Contraceptive Use – 2009.  State Dept. 2010.  UN DESA (2011)
The 2010 female-to-male ratio both for primary and secondary school enrollment is 1.00, indicating that there is no preferential treatment of sons with respect to access to education.
According to the Central Intelligence Agency, the male/female sex ratio for the total population in 2012 is 0.85.
There is no evidence to suggest that Russia is a country of concern in relation to missing women.
The Russian Civil Code provides equal rights to access land and access property other than land for men and women. All property acquired during a marriage is the couple’s joint property, and unless their marriage contract states otherwise, it is split into two equal shares in the event of divorce. Men and women have equal rights to obtain access to bank loans. Women actively pursue credit and represent between 25 and 30 percent of small business owners in Russia, some with the assistance of private microfinance institutions. However, women often encounter restrictions in their access to credit due to poverty. There are no state-sponsored efforts in Russia to aid women in overcoming the difficulties they have obtaining loans in the private sector.
Under the Soviet system, women’s freedom of movement was curtailed by the requirement of a valid propiska which was required to change residence, get married, get a job, access services or travel. Although the Russian Constitutional Court has abolished propiska several times since 1991, propiska-like practices reportedly continue in many places, restricting freedom of movement for women, for example those women who seek to leave abusive relationships.
Although the constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, in practice the government still controlled many media outlets in the course of 2010 and infringed on those rights including the right of assembly and association, sometimes with the collusion of the police.
The level of women’s political participation has risen in recent years back to Soviet levels after falling throughout the 1990s to a low of 7.7 percent in the State Duma and 0.6 in the Federation Council after the 2000 elections. As of the elections in December 2007, there were 63 women in the 450-seat State Duma, for a rate of 14 percent. However, in the upper house, the Federation Council, only 8 of 169 seats, or 4.7 percent, are held by women. Women do not hold many positions of leadership in politics: there are two female ministers in the federal government, and only one of the 83 regions is led by a woman. None of the political parties have a woman leader.
Pursuant to the desire of the government to increase the population, women in Russia have extensive maternity protections. Pregnant women are entitled to 140 days of paid leave at 100 percent of their wage, paid by the national social insurance fund. Women also have additional protections against termination and must be granted part-time work if requested. There is evidence, however, that employers discriminate against women of child-bearing age to save on costs; some employers require women to sign agreements stating that they will not get pregnant, and may force them to resign upon conception.
 ECOSOC 2006, pp. 10-11.  US Department of State (2010a)  ECOSOC 2006, p. 5.  Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) (2010), Women in Parliament: All Countries on National Parliaments; State Dept. 2010.  State Dept. 2010.  International Labour Organization (ILO) (2009), Database of Conditions of Work and Employment Laws; Social Security Administration (SSA) (2008), Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Europe, 2008, p. 268; CEDAW 2009, pp. 31-31.  U.S. State Department (2010), 2009 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Russia; ECOSOC 2006, p. 6.
After a decade of post-Soviet economic and political turmoil, Russia has has managed to overcome the economic collapse of 1998 using its vast naturalresources, including oil and gas. Russia is the largest country on earth in terms of surface area, despite the fact that large portions of land are very sparsely populated. Although Russia has managed to disable a Chechen rebel movement, violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus. Russia is classed by the World Bank as an upper middle income country.
Despite a tumultuous 20th century history Russia made great strides towards gender equality under the Soviet system, patriarchal traditions in several regions were rejected and women received equal access to education and salaried employment. As a result of the widespread disruptions in the economy caused by the shift away from Communism, women have experienced a relative decline in their social and economic status; this may also indicate that patriarchal traditions are reasserting themselves. Significant problems exist with respect to violence against women. Women still earn lower salaries than men, are more often unemployed, and remain responsible for the bulk of family obligations. These factors also make it difficult for women to rise in management positions. However, according to the 2002 census, women ran about 30 percent of medium-sized businesses and 10 percent of big businesses in Russia, and a 2009 study found that the number of women taking managerial positions increased from 30 to 40 percent since the onset of the economic crisis.
Article 19 of the Russian Constitution guarantees equal rights for all citizens and specifically upholds the principle of equality between men and women. Russia ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1981, and the Optional Protocol on violence against women in 2004.
 BBC News (2011)  CIA (2011)  World Bank (n.d.)  United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (2006), Integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective: Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Ertürk. Addendum: Mission to the Russian Federation, p. 6-8;  ABA-CEELI 2006, pp. 17-19.  US Department of State (2010a)  Article 19 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, adopted 12 December 1993; Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2009), Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Russian Federation, Combined Sixth and Seventh Periodic Reports on States Parties, pp. 42-43; American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA- CEELI) (2006), CEDAW Assessment Tool Report for the Russian Federation, p. 15.  United Nations Treaty Collection (2010n.d)
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