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Paid and unpaid work in the Siberian countryside


Gvozdeva, Galina (2000). Paid and unpaid work in the Siberian countryside. Research Support Scheme Electronic Library: Open Society Institute-Budapest.


The objective of the paper is to analyse the changed relationship between paid and
unpaid labour of women in the Western Siberian countryside (1975-1996) and to
demonstrate the effect of economic changes on rural women's behaviours to survive. Unpaid work of women increase the opportunities in making rural life economically and environmentally sustainable. Empirical results are based on data from monitoring of reforms in the Novosibirsk oblast (1993-1996), on comparable data from time budget studies of rural population conducted in the mid 1970s, 1980s and in 1993-1994 and data
from Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS, 1994, 1995, 1996).
Under new economic conditions changes of the population employment structure in
the time balance have led to notable increase in unpaid labour as compared to the 1970s and 1980s. This increase is mostly due to women's higher contribution to homework and household farm production. Under acute lack of money, more time is spent by women on cooking and related activities: among those outemployed roughly by 2-2.5 hours per week, and among pensioners by 3.5 hours. Before the reforms, the lowest amount of free time was accounted for by women agricultural workers. Reduction in their working time in public sector led to increased amount of leisure time, although only in winter. The character of leisure is now more of a passive-reproducing character. Much less time is now spent in
community organisations and on self-education. According to the 1996 survey data, among those who said they were "working too hard, up to exhaustion, so that even repose does not allow them entirely to remove fatigue" women made up 1.7 times than men. One woman in
ten saw the reason for health deterioration in impossibility to have a full-value leisure.
The hypothesis is that in the crisis period the unpaid labour of rural people has been
the chief factor in sustainability of the West Siberian agrarian sector.
Share of population of Russia providing living standard by means of unpaid work has increased when crisis became intensified. The structure of women work changed more apparently (then structure
of men work) as the crisis influenced on their employment and wages.


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Gvozdeva, Galina