Facts About Girls' Education in Russia

There is always something to see in the international media when it comes to Russia but most of the information out there tell us nothing about the country’s education culture. When it comes to understanding what kind of education culture exist in a nation, it is important to take a look at different dynamics such as girls education with respect to gender gap and more. Here are 10 facts about the girls’ education in Russia.

Facts About Girls’ Education in Russia

  1. Russia has one of the highest rates of literacy with 98 percent in general. The rate is higher than most of the Western European countries.
  2. The education system, in general, is run by the state. The government is offering free general education to its people and there are three common segments of schools known as pre-school, primary and secondary.
  3. Just like in most of the countries, Russia also has both private and state schools in its education system. There is no gender inequality between the attendees of either private or state school. Socioeconomic status of families is the primary determinant on whether the child goes to private or state school.
  4. Back in 2017, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets highlighted that 37 percent of the Russian women have a higher education degree. She also added that women usually combine their professional duties with housework and childcare and in this way, natural reasons for gender discrimination is created.
  5. For men, the abovementioned number is 29 percent, which is eight percent lower than women’s rate. The Deputy Prime Minister Golodets underlines that although there is a bigger rate of the woman in terms of holding a higher education degree, discrimination still exists in the job industry.
  6. Even though the rate of the woman holding a higher education degree is higher than men, women’s wages are only 73 percent of men’s average salary. In other words, discrimination is real among genders in terms of the salaries.
  7. UNESCO highlights that 29 percent of the scientific research worldwide is done by the woman. This number is different in Russia. According to the data shared by UNESCO, 41 percent of the scientific research in Russia is provided by women.
  8. Not every woman in Russia is encouraged to do science. There are so-called “womanhood” schools in the country teaching woman how to do the housework like cooking and cleaning properly. A school called “Woman Inside” is an example of one of those schools, where women are coached to be nice to their husbands and keep their homes tidy.
  9. Girls have an early interest in STEM subjects, which is an abbreviation for science, technology, engineering and maths. These are preferred subject by the girls in Russia. A study conducted by Microsoft shows that lack of woman in STEM subject-related fields due to peer pressure, lack of role models or encouragement is not applicable for Russia. Russian girls perceive the STEM way too positively and try pursuing a career in the field as well.
  10. Stereotype view of engineering as a manly job is not the case in Russia. The same Microsoft study emphasized that stereotype towards woman exist in the sense that usually few women pursue a career in engineering. The case is different in Russia where 15 percent of the inventors are women which is a very high number considering the fact that, in comparison, this number is 4 percent for the U.K.


These facts about girls’ education in Russia show that the country has both negative and positive images on the questions of girls education. Equality of wages between genders still seems like an issue that needs improvement, but there are positive examples in decreasing the stereotyping of gender in different fields of study, which is very promising. One thing should not be forgotten: improvement in girls’ education is always possible and important. 

– Orçun Doğmazer

Photo: Google

Girls' Education in Russia
At a glance, girls’ education in Russia seems to be fairly equal to boys’. For example, 37 percent of women have a higher education, while only 29 percent of Russian men do. However, gender biases and discrimination still exist within Russia. While more women have a higher education than men, their salaries are still 73 percent of men’s average salary.

What Hinders Girls’ Education in Russia

Girls’ education in Russia tends to be a competition. The payment for higher education is often too much for families, and while scholarships exist and can help the child through school, it is usually not enough.

The challenge of even attending school can come as early as kindergarten. The government’s policy tends to lead to a significant shortage of kindergarten classes. This leads to a difficult decision for families on whether to send their child to kindergarten and may even persuade them not to have children at all.

Room for Improvements

Women are more motivated to save money to attend higher education than men, with 20.7 percent of women saving money for school compared to only 14.6 percent of men. The men who save usually do so in order to escape military service.

Even though receiving education can be a hassle and can lead to a lower income job compared to men, girls’ education in Russia has improved slightly. Before 1764, girls’ education in Russia wasn’t even considered. It was not until Catherine II’s reforms that education rights were applied to both men and women.

Varying Job Paths

Education for girls, however, mostly happened in the home. They were taught about their duties as wives and mothers rather than learning about math and science. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets explained there might be a natural reason for this. “Women usually have to combine professional duties with household responsibilities and raising children,” Golodets said.

This mindset affects the kind of jobs women are expected to have. It is thought that education positions are for females because they are, or will become, mothers and teaching does not require much physical effort. Along with this, women are often found in lower positions, with men being in charge and holding manager positions.

While more women attend higher education than men in Russia, women’s salaries are still lower than a majority of men’s. Along with this, women are often pushed into only one area of employment and not into managerial positions. While girls’ education in Russia seems better than most countries, women still face issues and discrimination.

– Marissa Wandzel
Photo: Google

4 Facts about Higher Education in Russia You need to Know
Russia seems to constantly struggle with one political or economic issue after another. It is important not to forget education in the chaos. Here are a few salient facts about higher education in Russia and how it affects the growing number of people living in poverty.

  1. Entrance exams: As in many countries, students in Russia must take a unified state exam to enter university. This system has pros and cons. The exams are extremely competitive and force teachers in secondary school to “teach to the test” to ensure students can pass exams. However, doing so leads to problems later on when students must spend time in university relearning material they should have learned in high school.
  2. Changing demographics: Until the mid-1990s, universities were comprised mainly of well-to-do urban young adults. After reforms were made, enrollment expanded, and in the early 2000s, universities became more popular among the masses. Lately, however, Russia’s gap between the rich and poor has been growing. Nearly 20 million Russians currently live in poverty, and the poverty rate has increased by 20% since last year. Consequently, history is beginning to repeat itself, with a more socioeconomically homogeneous student body developing in universities.
  3. Right to free education: According to the Russian Federation Constitution, all Russian citizens have a right to free education. Russia’s 2013 Law of Education ensures that state governments enforce this right. The right to free education is granted on a competitive basis based on grades from the Unified State Exam.
  4. Government spending is low: Only about 4 percent of Russia’s GDP goes toward education, according to the latest U.N. Human Development Report. Compared to other countries with consistently high-ranking education systems, Russia’s spending on education is low. Finland, for example, spends 6.8 percent of its GDP on education.

Increased government spending on education, as well as more well-rounded secondary education, could greatly benefit higher education in Russia and the nation as a whole.

Sabrina Yates

Photo: Flickr