Woman’s portrait against background of daily life

Average Belarusian woman is aged 42, lives and works in a city, and is married with children

By Yelena Prusova

The National Statistical Committee of Belarus has prepared a ‘portrait’ of the typical Belarusian woman. According to the Press Secretary, Yelena Kondratenko, she is 42 year old, and speaks Russian but acknowledges Belarusian as her native language. She lives in a city, has higher or secondary special education, is married (at the age of 24), has children (giving birth to her first at the age of 25) and works in industry or education.

As of January 1st, 2012, 5.1m women were registered in the Republic — accounting for 54 percent of the total population. In all, 76 percent live in urban settlements, with the remaining 24 percent in rural areas. There are 1,152 women per thousand men countrywide. This rises to 1,165 in towns and falls to 1,113 in villages. Among urbanites, there are more men aged below 28 and, in villages, men under 57 prevail. “This is primarily connected with young women leaving rural areas to continue their education or find employment,” explains Ms. Kondratenko.

She also notes that men do not live as long as women, with life expectancy dropping especially once they reach active working age. The greatest gender disproportion is observed in the senior age groups. For women aged 60-69, there are 1,469 per 1,000 men in cities; in villages, this figure stands at 1,400. Meanwhile, women above 70 exceed men in number by 2.3-fold in urban settlements: 2.4-fold in rural areas.

Ms. Kondratenko stresses that life expectancy influences the female-male ratio. In 2010, the expected life span for men was 64.6 years, compared to 76.5 years for women. A significant difference in life expectancy is evident in Belarus; in 2010, this stood at 11.9 years — while the UNDP reports the ‘natural’ difference at just 5 years.

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