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North Caucasus Brochure Tells Women to ‘Defer’ to Men

Mikhail Japaridze / TASS

Authorities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim republic of Ingushetia have issued a brochure for the new school year instructing women to “defer” to men no matter their age.

The brochure “promoting the Ingush people’s traditional values” includes visual depictions of the “Ingush code of conduct” and is printed in Russian and Ingush as well as English. In July, the pamphlet made headlines for advising young people to avoid loud laughter.

The brochure tells Ingush girls that “a woman of any age [has] to defer to a man of any age,” the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news outlet reported last week. 

“Women's beauty is shyness, politeness, a calm tone and keeping a distance from strangers. Women cannot shout and laugh loudly in public,” the brochure reportedly says. Wearing tight clothes, according to the brochure, is “improper.”

Beslan Tsechoyev, the mayor of the Ingush administrative center of Magas, denied that the leaflet discriminates against women and said that the authorities had consulted local elders and experts in Ingush traditions while drafting it. 

“Women stand up in the presence of men, showing respect to them no matter how old they are. Even a grown woman stands up in public and shows respect to a teenage boy,” Tsechoyev was quoted as saying.

Ingushetia, a predominantly Muslim region in the North Caucasus, has seen a rapid weakening of its traditional generational and gender hierarchies along with a simultaneous spread of fundamentalist Islam among young men, a recent study of families in the region said.

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