Today, about 33% of women live in rural areas. According to international standards, this category of citizens is classified as vulnerable one. However, Russia has various projects aimed at improving the lives of women in villages. In addition, the agrarian issue becomes more popular every day. We had an interesting discussion on rural women, the development of villages, and women in politics with Irina Gekht, Chairperson of the Committee of Rural Women and Deputy Chairperson of the Committee for Agrarian and Food Policy and Environmental Management in Russia. 

“We seriously reflected on the situation of women in rural areas when reporting on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination. One of the main difficulties of rural women is their remote location from social services including those related to healthcare. They also face lack of legal support, education, little salaries and a number of other problems”, she said.


Soon after that, the decision to establish the Committee of Rural Women was taken. This organization was to focus on finding solutions of those problems. The proposal to create the Committee was put in the final resolution of the meeting of the Chairperson of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, with women leaders of rural settlements in 2016. 

This new organization directed its activities to the development of rural areas and the creation of conditions for improving the living standards of the rural population. The Committee's tasks include participation in ensuring the protection of constitutional rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of women, preservation of national traditions and cultural and historical heritage of rural areas. 


The Coordination Council is composed of 45 women who are the heads of rural settlements on the territory of Russia. Irina Gekht describes with warmth and enthusiasm the meetings with them that are regularly held in the Federation Council. 

“These are extremely sincere and inspired people. They are really interested in what they do. By the way, women make up almost a third among the heads of rural settlements. Moreover, I must say that such settlements are among the most progressive ones”, she said. 

The senator also noted that similar meetings are to be held in all federal districts. Today it is extremely important to gather and unite women from rural settlements, because then they will have the opportunity to exchange experience and establish professional communications. All this will contribute to the accelerated development of various projects that are implemented both by the administrations of separate rural settlements and by the Committee of Rural Women. 

It must be said that Irina Gekht did not come straight to the field related to agrarian food policy and agriculture. Most of her professional activities were devoted specifically to the social sphere. However, now, among the directions of Irina Gekht's work are not only the social development of rural settlements, but also issues related to the quality of products, food security, and ecology. Thus, the senator said that today much attention is paid to the issue of environmental rehabilitation. For example, there are initiatives aimed at creating water ecological funds. 

“We are also engaged in promoting a healthy lifestyle and government initiatives to control the quality of food products. Within the framework of one of the initiatives in the Parliamentary Newspaper, there were programs describing different products (about where and how they are made and how to distinguish a natural product from a fake). This information will be useful for everyone”, noted Irina Gekht. 

Irina Gekht told us with incredible interest about her activities and the problems to be solved. By the way, she considers this interest to be the most important quality of women. They are naturally endowed with sensitivity, attention to the world around them, they take care to solve problems and always sincerely strive to help and achieve results. 

“However, it is very difficult to be a woman in politics. Certain stereotypes that this is not a women’s field of activity still exist. However, the difficulties only stimulate women to continuous professional development. In addition, all stereotypes about women will once disappear, because we achieve huge positive results in our activities”, she commented. 

According to Irina Gekht, the main components of success are professionalism, self-confidence and a desire to work in the chosen direction. 

"There were many projects in my activity that did not bring money. The experience of public activity took an important role in my professional promotion. Professional ties received in the course of working on such projects were very important. Over time, you accumulate your professionalism. Once the fortune will smile on you and everything will work out. The most important thing is to achieve one goal, not to stop. Always move forward,” she added. 

However, the woman’s approach is also important on the road to success. One should never step on people and achieve results in all ways and any sacrifices. According to Irina, sometimes one just need to be able to take a few steps back, so as to calmly continue one’s way. Thus, diligence, self-development and an active life position contribute greatly to being successful. 

The values ​​of many modern girls and women, according to Irina Gekht, aim not only at the creation and preservation of the family, but also at self-realization. Here it is very important to find a balance. Irina believes that a woman is successful only when she is happy. If she has a loving husband, and her children are healthy, then she will be more effective in professional activity. 

"The mission of a woman is first of all to be happy and share this happiness with others. A happy woman always has an incredible strength and potential to accomplish many good deeds”, she said. 

Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women's Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov