Why Is Putin Urging Women To Join Male Dominated Workforce Amid War?

In response to a declining workforce due to low birth rates, President Putin issued a groundbreaking call, urging traditionally male-dominated professions in Russia to actively embrace women in employment.

Oshi Saxena
New Update

As Russia grapples with a persistent decline in its labor force, exacerbated by low birth rates and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has issued a compelling call to action. In a recent address, he urged traditionally male-dominated professions to embrace the untapped potential of women. This strategic move aims to address major labor shortages arising from the mobilization of thousands of men in response to the conflict.


The exodus of some Russians following Moscow's invasion has only added to the complexity of the issue.

Putin's Call to Action

President Putin emphasized the pivotal role that women can play in alleviating these labor shortages. He stated, "Girls represent a huge reserve for Russia. In sectors where they are not yet working, they need to exploit their potential to the fullest."

Putin also lauded the efforts of women entering traditionally male-dominated professions, particularly highlighting the success of female cadets in Russian flight schools.

"In our flight schools, girls are already flying combat aircraft. The minister (of defence) reported that they do it brilliantly, while it always seemed that it was a purely male profession. Today, all boundaries are being erased," Putin stated. This shift, he contends, is critical in mitigating labor shortages and ensuring a more inclusive workforce.

Putin's remark comes shortly after launching a presidential re-election campaign that is likely to keep him in power until at least 2030.


Overcoming Challenges and Restrictions

While championing the integration of women into various professions, Putin acknowledged certain challenges, such as health, anatomy, and family-related concerns. 

"Of course, there are some limitations related to health, anatomy, maybe to family," Putin  continued. "(If) there is a long business trip... who do the kids stay with?" he wondered.

However, he expressed confidence that these issues "can be solved," emphasizing the need to lift restrictions hindering women's participation in the workforce.

As Russia grapples with these demographic and labor challenges, Putin's call to expand women's roles in the workforce emerges as a strategic vision for the nation's future. By tapping into the vast reservoir of female talent, Russia can not only address immediate labor shortages but also foster a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

Understanding Russia's Labor Dynamics


As of 2022, Russia boasted a workforce comprising 36.9 million men and 35 million women. While the male employee count saw a marginal increase of 30 thousand compared to the previous year, the overall trend reveals a decline in both female and male employees since 2018.

Russian women have long been active participants in diverse labor markets, including healthcare and science, fields traditionally perceived as male-dominated remnants of the Soviet era. However, the narrative takes a complex turn when examining gender income and wage gaps. The "double burden" and the prevailing "maternity fee" contribute to these disparities, reinforcing women's roles as primary caregivers. Demographic policies inadvertently amplify gender inequality, impacting the birth rate. The intersection of highly educated women facing challenges in career progression due to patriarchal values adds another layer. 

Despite high levels of education among women, patriarchal values embedded in the hidden curriculum hinder career advancement. While women constitute 43% of scientific workers, particularly in humanitarian sciences, challenges persist, primarily driven by low wages. The patriarchal traditions within the scientific community further  highlights the need for reform. Gender and women studies, despite their importance, remain on the fringes of mainstream academic discussions.

The gender gap extends into governance, where men predominantly occupy leadership roles, leaving women largely confined to administrative positions. Despite holding deputy positions, women face limitations in decision-making capacities both in state and corporate governance.

President Vladimir Putin's recent call for women to embrace traditional values and bear eight or more children stands in stark contrast to his simultaneous encouragement for women to join traditionally male-dominated professions. While seemingly contradictory, both initiatives share a common thread—the profound impact of population decline and the mobilization of men on the frontlines, especially in times of war.

Is this a call for women's empowerment or a pragmatic response to crisis-induced labor shortages?


russia ukraine war Vladimir Putin