- Posted September 18, 2011 by
Russia: High-Achieving Women like Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova Mean Business
In recent years Fortune magazine reported that there were 24 billionaires in Moscow, and only one of these billionaires was a woman. But things have since changed in Russia, and while in 2006 less than 10 percent of management positions in Russia were held by women, and women earned around 37 percent less than men in the same jobs, many Russian women have since risen to the top of the corporate ladder.
Russia is a haven for female-owned businesses, according to a survey conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. PwC’s research shows the number of female company bosses in Russia more than doubled between 2007 and 2008. Russia reportedly has more women-owned small businesses than any other country in the world.
For Moscow-based Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova, being a high-ranking businesswoman did not conflict with being a wife and mother. Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova is married to prominent Russian scientist Vladimir Alexeyevich Smirnov, former head of TENEX. The couple has two children.
With a distinguished husband and children in the house, one might imagine that Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova would have stopped there. But in fact, this Russian businesswoman was often busy in her career, and has worked in the real estate and banking industries for some of Russia’s most successful companies; most recently she held a top position at Natsionalny Kosmicheski Bank (NK Bank).
Unlike Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova, other Russian women only found a means to career empowerment after the fallout of their marital lives. Take, for example, Irina Balakina. When her husband left her in the 1990s, she reportedly sold her jewelry and furs in order to feed her daughter. After working for Reuters as a receptionist she eventually ascended the ranks and now runs Factiva in Russia.
Whether a Russian woman’s emergence into business success happens while she retains a family life or when she loses that very family, it’s undeniable that the gender wars are being fought—and won—by many women in the Russian Federation. These victories are attributable to the likes of Larisa Leonidovna Drozdova.