Realistic female portrait against background of favourable statistics
By Boris Alexandrov
The picture was interesting, with a few surprises. According to researchers, the average Belarusian is a 42 year old married woman, with children, living in a city. She has higher or secondary special education and sees Belarusian as her native language. However, she prefers speaking in Russian.
According to statistics, there are 1,151 women for each thousand men in Belarus. However, urban men prevail over women in the ‘under 28’ age group. In villages, this extends to the age of 57. The situation is largely due to young women leaving villages for cities, to continue their education and find employment.
Women’s thirst for knowledge is worthy of envy; there are more women than men in education: 863,000 as of early 2011 (51 percent of the total). 962,000 girls (49 percent) receive secondary education, while 32 percent attend professional colleges and 53 percent are at special secondary establishments. The share of girls in higher educational establishments remains at a steady 59 percent, with most traditionally preferring humanitarian and social classes, studying culture, arts, medicine, teaching, economics and management. They show less interest in electro-technical studies, architecture and metal processing. Their choices determine their future careers, with most choosing jobs which require patience, attention to detail and sensitivity. Of course, others find their niche in transport, construction and forestry, with these spheres employing up to 25 percent of women.
As regards marriage and family life, much remains unchanged. According to the 2009 census, 62 percent of men and 52 percent of women were married, while 27 percent of men and 18 percent of women had never been married. Interestingly, almost 80 percent of never married men and over 75 percent of women were under the age of 30.
The 2009 census showed that 83 percent of women viewed themselves as Belarusians, about 9 percent as Russians, over 3 percent as Poles, and about 2 percent as Ukrainians. Russian was the major language of communication for 70 percent of Belarusian women, while Belarusian was spoken by 24 percent. Almost 60 percent of women knew English well, while 63 percent knew German.