Women Help Women in Russia

by Ludmila Somova / LAS@soglasie.msk.su, Women Association SOGLASIE, Russia

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Economic changing in our country at first, some years ago, took place in the branch of industry, which was essential working for orders. These orders had budget funding. More enterprises in our town were like this. The stopping of the funding for it entailed unemployment. Most of the unemployed are women, because the traditional opinion is, that women must be at home (in the kitchen and with the children), then at her job. Russian men do not differ from other men in this and just as the directors of most enterprises are men, so large part of women stay without jobs.

There are many women's problems now. Among them are women's unemployment and, therefore, weaken women's psychological condition. In the aim to resolve these problems a new organisation was created, "Family" center. The centre's staff consists of psychologists, social workers and doctors. The town administration gave some part of the fund for this organisation, but it is not enough money. Therefore everybody works as volunteer. We created a "trust-phone" in the "Family" centre for women and children when they are in difficult situation. Psychologist awaits calls at night time every day.

We also created women's consultation for problems of family planning. Also specialists teach young women and schoolgirls. Our social workers sometimes visit bad families, where children are not taken care of by their parents. A lawyer in the centre consult women about women's rights and family problems.

In order to help women in finding a job we created a "Women's information centre" (maybe as an electronic village). Women would receive a new qualification in it. Women will learn new professional technologies (on computer and other means of communication). We propose to enrol learning programmes (professional training for unemployed women). So, we are interested in the social condition of women, women's rights, gender issues and we want to extend the area of our work (more women, young women, and girls). We plan to make an "infoteka" with information about women's problems.

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