Forces: March 9, 2005


Women comprise about ten percent of the troops in the Russian armed forces. Thats some 90,000 women. They are all volunteers, and they take care of a lot of key functions in communications and medical care. Some 4,800 of the female troops are officers, with an average age of 35. Another 26,000 are warrant officers, with an average age of 37. Most of the enlisted women serve in technical jobs (especially medical, cryptography, translators and communications), with the remainder doing clerical jobs. Some 70 percent of the women in the army work in various medical specialties. The women in the military are seen as more reliable than the men. Women are less likely to have drinking problems, and are more tolerant of the low pay. The poor pay and living conditions has caused the more capable men to leave the military for more lucrative careers in the civilian economy. But in Russia, women still have a hard time getting ahead in many career areas. This is not the case in the armed forces, where women have dominated many jobs since World War II. Although some women served in combat jobs during World War II (pilots, snipers and traffic police), their use in tank and infantry units was dropped quickly after the German invasion in 1941. Although there were some female fighter aces, most women flew non-combat aviation. Women eventually came to dominate in some combat support jobs. 


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