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For most Russians gender ‘doesn’t matter’ when choosing presidential contender — poll

October 26, 2017, 12:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW

However, patriarchal views are still strong, since only five percent of the respondents showed their willingness to cast their ballots for a woman, the poll showed

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© Alexandr Demyanchuk/TASS

MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. More than half of Russians (54%) said they did not care about the gender of the presidential candidates when asked whom they would vote for if they had to choose between male and female candidates, the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center said in a statement on Thursday.

"(People’s) frame of mind is changing, so gender has become less important as far as serious issues go," the statement reads. "In 2005, in response to the same question, 44% of those surveyed said they would vote for a man, and 17% were ready to support a female candidate, while now most respondents - 54% - said that ‘gender does not matter’," the pollster added. However, patriarchal views are still strong, since as many as 38% said that they were more inclined to vote for a male candidate and only five percent showed their willingness to cast their ballots for a woman.

The chief arguments in support of a female candidate are that women may be able to govern the country better, they love peace, and they are down-to-earth and reasonable. At the same time, those prone to favor male candidates refer to the widely used expression which says that "it is not a woman’s business." They see women as less strong and more emotional than men, adding that family matters should be a woman’s key concern.

According to 22% of respondents, the principal of gender quality is violated one way or another. The pollster says that the number of male and female respondents sharing this view is the same (22%), while those aged 18-24 more often point to inequality. A total of 73% of those polled said that the rights of men and women are respected equally. According to the survey’s results, 51% of Russians support the initiative to set quotas for women in government agencies (compared to 44% in 2005), with 61% of female and 40% of male respondents welcoming the initiative. However, 38% opposed the idea.

The pollster adds that in 1998, almost half of the respondents (45%) said that Russia needed more female politicians, while today 32% emphasize this need. The number of those who believe that there are enough female politicians in the country has grown from 27% to 38%. At the same time, around 10% of the poll’s participants still say that there is no place for women in politics (compared to 10% in 1998 and eight percent in 2017).

The telephone poll involving 1,200 people over 18 years of age was conducted on September 17-18, 2017.

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