"The only prison we can be is prison of our mind"
- Lailah Gifty Akita
Much has been written about what is popularly known as "women empowerment". The UN defines it as " women's sense of self-worth; their right to have and to determine their choices; to have access to opportunities and ressources; to have the power to control their own lives, both within and outside the home; their ability to influence the direction of social change and to create a more socially and economically fair order, nationally and internationally".
Throughout this story we are going to introduce you to women's rights history in Russia, the most prominent female figures of the country – past and present – and three young women from Moscow we met as part of our investigation.
In 2014, a Russian woman was denied employment as a train/underground driver. Simply because the job was on a list of banned occupations for women in the Russian Federation. It was 2016, the year women prevented a total ban on abortions in Poland…again. The year Haitian women led their country to recovery after Hurricane Matthew. The year Palestine announced plans to establish the National Observatory on Violence Against Women.
The "driver" story is not unique. There are 456 occupations and 38 branches of industry considered by the legislation as « too arduous, dangerous or harmful to women's health, above all their reproductive health ».
At first sight, this kind of recurring gender-based discrimination seemed to as if it reflected how the Russian state considers women. However, as soon as we met our first interviewees, we realized how wrong we were...