Rukina Irina Mikhailovna
Deputy of the Moscow City Duma, Chairman of the Economic Policy Commission
"They are talking too much about the problem "women and power" and more and more are repeating themselves. Perhaps it is time to stop talking and to start doing?"
"The trouble is that women are not voting for women and that is rather strange - but at the same time women voters are expecting attention, understanding and solving of their problems. Men voted for me and therefore I am in Duma."
"I would like very much that women would understand the fact that they know from the real life - during the hard times when we need to save the situation - women are coming."
What is the place of a woman leader in the modern society? Does the problem of woman in power exist?
For sure, this problem exists - first of all, it is more difficult for woman to come to power for a variety of reasons. However, there is another side - woman is demanded by the state differently depending on the situation - now women are demanded by the state. Power is not only supreme State institutions but business and production as well - and women are more presented there because professionalism is of major importance there and besides such a women's quality as ability to put in order everything around them. Many times, I saw how women replaced male managers and achieved success. There are many examples for that. Many women can manage disciplined and firmly, but at the same time they meet the requirements of a woman's team. In this case, woman leader is hard and at the same time, she understands her subordinates as mother or sister does.
Concerning women's work at the legislative and executive bodies, I do not think that many women can work in the executive power bodies. As deputy who finishes her second work's term, I know that that kind of work demands all of you. Often this is life outside the family. Besides, many women cannot make decisions quickly when needed and are not turned to risk as men are - women most likely would think everything through, weigh, estimate all the consequences.
But I am absolutely sure that women should work in the legislative power, advisable that they are represented by at least 50% because an legislative body means working with people. Since 8 years I have been working in Moscow City Duma and I know what troubles people are bringing to their Deputy. You have to let these troubles and pain go through your heart and to make a right decision and at the same time you have to be a psychotherapist because you cannot always do what they are asking for but you can help them to overcome the stressful situation. You have to treat each person individually and women deputies are better in working with people.
Besides, many men after they become politicians are loosing touch with the people. They become thoroughly engrossed into work and no longer pay any attention to the people around them. They are doing their work - but what for and what is the final goal? They do not see as their mission working for single persons; they are working for the system as a whole.
Women are not loosing touch with people in spite of the position she is taking - anyhow she has got a family, home, school, where she has to go to solve her children's problems.
You are a typical example of a woman leader. I can easily imagine you while being child - as chairman of the school board, secretary of Komsomol organization. Does the tendency to lead live in you since your young years?
My father is military officer and since being 5 years old I wanted to be Minister of Defense. I have a great family and I am very lucky - I grew up surrounded by love. My family gave me the ability to create a space of love around me - thus helped me very much by my "male" profession and my hard character. However, my parents did not put pressure upon me to cultivate certain character features, besides my father strongly objected choosing of a humanitarian profession and I took his advice and now I am very glad of that. When the child grows up in love you do not have to teach him anything - he is happy and this happiness gives him confidence and strength of mind for the rest of his life.
Actually, I was a so-called activist since my school years. I loved to be a part of a collective and always organized something interesting around me.
Why did you decide to be a candidate for Moscow City Duma?
Honestly, when I left my factory where I took a very high executive position for being Deputy of the Moscow City Duma I did not know what is it, but rushed there straightaway. Everything was interesting for me - everything new, unusual, breaking completely everything I have done before. I achieved very much at the factory but I knew that I needed to go forward.
There was something else - in each situation we understand that we have a mission in this life. I always feel that something is guiding me through this life and I do not resist.
It is generally agreed that a women going into politics should be professional and work in all fields as equals with men; there is also another point of view - women can achieve more in "their own field" - health care, education...
I do not accept dividing into male and female fields of activities - all my life I worked in the defense industry. I am metallurgist on my first profession and all my colleagues and subordinates were mostly men.
In the Moscow City Duma I am Chairman of the Economic Policy Commission. I introduced 12 bills and a part of them is already have been approved: bill about city State orders, bill about citizen's rights according to realization of city building decisions, first program of the Moscow privatization, bill about industrial activity supporting Moscow City industry etc. And all these bills are social orientated and serve to improve the life standards of Moscow population.
Let us take as example the last bill - about the minimum payment by hour in Moscow. We need the wage reform; this is the basis of the present economy. City and country where people are getting miserable wages cannot develop. Because it is a chain: people get their salaries, go shopping and buy certain products; enterprises which sell these products pay taxes to budget and we direct these amounts of money into social sphere. We offer to calculate the minimum payment by hour according to the minimum cost of living in Moscow. After dividing it into working hours per week according to the Labour Code we receive, that the minimum payment by hour in Moscow should be not less than 10 Rubles. The monthly salary should be at least enough for people to feed themselves, but not all of them can cope with it. Can they in such a situation still respect themselves? This is an innovative bill. It is introducing a per hour rate which cannot be reduced.
We should support competition, create equal start conditions for development of small and medium enterprises. In January 2000 I raised the initiative of creation of the Round Table of Moscow business and became its Co-Chairman. The Round Table was created together with the Association of private and being in progress of privatization enterprises of Moscow region. We prepared proposals for the State Duma and Government of the Russian Federation "About taking down administrative barriers", "About reduction of products and services' licensing and certification", "About reduction of control check-ups", "About liquidation of sinecure monopolies, which prevent the creation of a competitive field" etc. We presented these proposals at the Second All-Russian Conference on Small Business in March 2001.
We are also cooperating with the Moscow Guild of manufacturers, with the Union of manufacturers and businessmen of the Moscow region, with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (I am author of the bill "About the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in City of Moscow"), with associations and unions of manufacturers, with Moscow bank union etc.
Often we have to render target assistance and support to the single enterprises and small productions. Special priority - to the enterprises, which are employing disabled people.
As it seems to me, women should work where they want to work using their knowledge and professional skills but not to divide the spheres of activities with men.
Are there many women in the Moscow City Duma, do your men colleagues in Duma and in Moscow Government consider women's opinion? Is it easy to convince them of your being right?
Seven women deputies are working in the Moscow City Duma, which makes app.15%. When they are submitting useful and reasonable proposals their men colleagues and city authorities are reacting very keenly. The other thing is that Moscow is a very bureaucratic city and the procedure of approval itself is very long.
You said that it is more difficult for women to come to power. How could we equalize opportunities of men and women?
I am not for quotas, but we should understand that it is not an order but a guiding line. Just the party leaders should know that to be successful at the elections they should have women on their lists and to help them during the election campaign.
The trouble is that women are not voting for women and that is rather strange - but at the same time, women voters are expecting attention, understanding and solving of their problems. Men voted for me and therefore I am in Duma
I would like very much that women would understand the fact that they know from the real life - during the hard times when we need to save the situation - women are coming. It was a woman who said once: "The glory of my motherland is my glory." That woman was Katherine the Great who did a lot for her country. I am meeting women - directors of companies, enterprises, organizations, schools and medical institutions, housewives and students. And they have very different problems - from private requests until the deep interest of situation in economy and industry. The problem of employment, fear of loosing the job stands very sharp now. Prices for food, clothes, medicines, and public utilities are rising - very difficult. I would like to say them: "Be patient, dear, just wait a couple of years and everything will be wonderful." However, I cannot assume such a responsibility. I know only, that women themselves can contribute to the better future. Where from comes this patriarchal believe that men would understand them better and do more for them? We should vote for women and give them an opportunity to solve the problems where men failed.