Girls like alluring stars
Women are moving into employment in spheres formerly viewed as exclusively male, with the road traffic police, with police divisions, and within the Emergency Ministry and military structures
The Press Secretary of the Minsk Pervomaisky District’s State Traffic Police, Yekaterina Zhurimskaya, had dreamt of working for the police since childhood. She envied friends whose fathers were in the military and was fond of the military uniform. She could easily distinguish a lieutenant, a captain and a colonel by their shoulder loops.
After graduating, she had no doubts which direction to take, and chose to train as a lawyer, and found employment at the Borisov District Court, as session secretary. She tells us, “A lawyer must always remain fair and unbiased, guided exclusively by the law, bearing responsibility for human fate. To master all the nuances of the profession, you need to know legal and procedural codes perfectly, being able to apply the law consistently. At the same time, you must act as a psychologist and understand the human soul.”
Working at the Borisov District Court, Yekaterina became interested in cases relating to road traffic accidents and began to realise that she wanted to work in preventing such tragedy. One day, she saw a vacancy for a press secretary with the Minsk Pervomaisky District’s State Traffic Police. She applied and was successful.
“Everything is strictly regulated within the State Traffic Police, obliging you to plan your time well,” Ms. Zhurimskaya comments. Her working day has a tough schedule: after our interview, she was heading to make an Emergency TV recording and then a photo session for an online site promoting road safety to pre-school children.
She often visits children at school and kindergarten, to play games helping them remember road safety. They always ask a great many questions and she presents themed gifts to help them recall the rules of the road: colouring albums, road safety booklets and reflective stickers for their coats. Last year, Ms. Zhurimskaya organised an exhibition of children’s paintings: Children against Traffic Rule Violators. It attracted entries from pupils at the I.O. Akhremchik Gymnasium-College of Arts. Some time later, she organised another exhibition: War through 21st Century Eyes, devoted to the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory.
Although small in stature, Yekaterina is impressively energetic. She brims with inventiveness and dynamism, her eyes sparkling with contentment. It’s clear that she loves her job. She confirms, “A press secretary should be able to think creatively, to find alternative solutions to any situation. You need to speak clearly and logically, to gain people’s attention, and be well organised.”
On the Day of Defenders of the Fatherland, on February 23rd, female officers from the Pervomaisky District’s State Traffic Police prepared a theatrical performance of poetry reading, dressed in uniform, for the male officers, congratulating them on their hard work. Afterwards, they all shared some traditional porridge. Yekaterina was among the participants. In turn, the men always prepare a surprise for March 8th, presenting flowers and offering their support to female colleagues.
Ms. Zhurimskaya notes that various road safety events are organised all year round, with drivers being invited to rest and have some cold water in hot summer, and drink hot tea on cold winter days. She’s convinced that road traffic policemen are always ready to render help: not long ago, they ‘saved’ a driver who broke down on Minsk’s ring road, inviting him to wait in their warm patrol car.
Ms. Zhurimskaya is convinced of the importance of her job, saying, “It’s a responsible position, requiring you to remember a great deal, from biographies to events happening just a minute ago.” She is now hoping for promotion to lieutenant and is studying English, wishing to enter the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of Belarus. She notes, “My dream of becoming a public prosecutor may yet come true,” she smiles. “A folk proverb says that the more dreams you have, the more will come true’.”
Rapid fire questions
Which are your favourite flowers?
Roses and orchids.
What was the last book you read?
L. Stolyarenko’s ‘Psychology of Business Communication’. I also love detective stories, by Olga Tarasevich and Maria Briker. They combine present crimes with events from the past and stories from celebrities’ lives, full of cultural references, so that the tales are believable. They describe the artistry of painters, musicians and fashion designers and Ms. Briker’s plots are intriguing. Her characters are extremely colourful.
Which music do you prefer?
It depends. I love jazz and blues — such as Eric Clapton and Layla. I also love classical pieces.
Where do you prefer to go on holiday?
I love to go abroad in summer, as such trips allow me to learn about other cultures. In winter, I’m fond of skiing at Belarusian Logoisk Ski Resort. I also love skating and, this season, discovered a new wonderful rink, at Zamok trade centre.
Who are your role models?
My mother and grandmother; they are the cleverest, wisest and most wonderful women. I regularly ask them for help and advice. Like my father, they support me in everything.
According to recent data, around 4,000 women serve with the Belarusian army. Over 500 are officers and more than 1,100 are warrant officers. Around 2,300 are under contract as soldiers and sergeants, while over 380 are junior ranking officers. Almost 150 women have the military rank of major or above. There are 57 lieutenant-colonels and 5 colonels among them.
By Yekaterina Medvedskaya