University of Cincinnati-Russian Survey
Gives Rare Window Into Russian Private Life

[image of researchers]
June 23, 1998
Contact for photos or information: Marianne Cianciolo
(513) 556-1826 (O)

Cincinnati -- A traditional view of husbands as a family's sole breadwinner continues to thrive among Russian men and women, despite decades of experience that has cast both husbands and wives in the roles of wage earners, shows a survey by social scientists at the University of Cincinnati and the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Socio-Economic Problems of Population (ISEPP).

The UC-Russia study marks one of the first Western-style surveys of Russian family life, said UC sociologist Dana Vannoy who headed the survey project. A $151,000 National Science Foundation grant funded the study.

Given Russia s Communist past and decades of experience with both men and women working outside the home, Vannoy was surprised that the survey found patriarchal attitudes so prevalent in both Russian men and women. The majority of Russian husbands and wives -- 82 percent of men and 79 percent of women -- indicated that they would prefer that husbands earn the income for the household. In contrast, 15 years ago, a U.S. study conducted in Cincinnati reported that up to one-third of U.S. men and one-half of women preferred to share breadwinning duties with their spouses.

A traditional role for Russian women is managing the money, according to Vannoy. At least 50 percent of Russian women say they manage the family's income, Vannoy said, and one-third of both husbands and wives prefer it that way.

"Right now in the U.S. when we say 'managing the money' we think of investing. Today in Russia, it means everyday needs, trying to survive," said Lisa Cubbins, a UC sociologist who assisted in the study.

Other key findings in the survey:

Survey data were collected in 1996 in interviews with 746 couples in Moscow, 123 couples in Pskov and 125 couples in Saratov.

Comprehensive results will be reported in a book, "Marriages in Russia: Couples During the Economic Transition," to be published by The Greenwood Publishing Group in late 1998.

In addition to Vannoy and Cubbins, co-authors of the study are Natalia Rimashevskaya (ISEPP); Marina Malysheva (ISEPP); Marina Pisklakova (ISEPP); and Elena Meshterkina (Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Sociology).

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