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Legacy Of Equality

How do former communist states in Europe stack up in terms of gender equality in high-profile positions?

Russia tops the list of countries with the most women in "senior-business positions," according to a recent report by the U.S. auditing giant Grant Thornton. Many former communist countries -- including Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Poland -- also ranked highly. The report suggested that the phenomenon could partially be attributed to the “legacy of communist principles on equality.” However, while women in Russia were better educated and more productive than their male counterparts on average, they still earned 32.8% less.

Similar findings were published by the International Labor Organization in its 2015 Women In Business & Management report. Post-Soviet republics Belarus, Latvia, and Moldova were the only European countries ranked in the top 10, well ahead of Western European equality standard-bearers Sweden and Germany.

The equality statistics did not cross over to government leadership. No post-Soviet republic has a parliament with women membership of more than 30%. Women make up less than 15% of Russia’s parliament -- compared to 36.5% in Germany. In Armenia, only about 10 percent of parliamentarians are women.