Accessibility links

Breaking News

Brochure Issued In Ingushetia Instructs Women To 'Defer' To Men

Local authorities in Ingushetia have largely shrugged off criticism of the treatment of women in the region, arguing that local traditions are often at odds with Western values.

MAGAS, Russia -- Authorities in Russia's mostly Muslim-populated North Caucasus region of Ingushetia have issued a brochure instructing women "to be deferential" to men.

The brochure issued earlier this week by the administration in the regional capital, Magas, gives general instructions to Ingush youth on how to dress and behave in public places.

The brochure is printed in three languages -- Ingush, Russian, and English.

It has already been distributed in Ingushetia and authorities there say it will be handed out to schoolchildren once the new academic year starts on September 1.

The brochure calls on Ingush girls "to remember women's honorable place in Ingush society" and instructs "a woman of any age to defer to a man of any age."

"Women's beauty is shyness, politeness, a calm tone and keeping a distance from strangers. Women cannot shout and laugh loudly in public," the brochure says.

It also says that "a noble Ingush will never leave his house barefoot," and calls it "improper" "to wear tight clothes."

The instructions also say that people must step aside when a person who is at least one day older is walking toward them.

Magas Mayor Beslan Tsechoyev told RFE/RL that the brochure’s text was prepared in consultation with local elders and experts in Ingush traditions. He denied it was discriminatory towards women.

"Women stand up in the presence of men, showing respect to them no matter how old they are. Even a grown-up woman stands up in public and shows respect to a teenage boy," Tsechoyev said.

Human rights groups have said for years that the rights of women are being violated in the North Caucasus.

Local authorities have largely shrugged off such criticism, arguing that local traditions are often at odds with Western values.