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Russian Women's Activists Protest Dismissals, Want Compensation

Mothers in Moscow (file photo)
ST. PETERSBURG -- Women's rights activists have rallied in St. Petersburg to protest the dismissals of pregnant women and mothers with small children from their jobs, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The activists say the number of instances of pregnant women or those with children under three years of age being fired by their employers and denied social allowances has increased in recent years.

The St. Petersburg-based organization Peterburgskaya Egida (St. Petersburg Aegis) is currently investigating 15 such cases.

Peterburgskaya Egida President Rima Sharifullina told RFE/RL that in the wake of the economic crisis many companies have laid off female workers and in some cases failed to pay them their severance and other social allowances to which they are entitled. Other women have not received maternity leave payments.

She added that in many cases it is impossible to get such money because the companies no longer exist.

Sharifullina said the law should be changed to make the State Social Insurance Fund responsible for the payment of allowances to dismissed women who are pregnant or who have children under the age of three.

The activists decided to schedule their protest action today in order to remind people of the problem ahead of International Women's Day, which is marked on March 8.