President of Russia Vladimir Putin: You have chosen a pleasant but dangerous place for our meeting. Your products smell so good!
I would like to welcome you. Good afternoon.
We have met ahead of the March 8 holiday, which is why I would like to begin by congratulating all of you on this day and to wish you all the best.
During a meeting yesterday with the young people in Nizhny Tagil who have chosen engineering worker occupations, we spoke about the traditional jobs for men and women. I do not know if you have taken note of this or whether the media have reported this. As you can see, this question is of interest to them.
Judging by our meeting today and by those who are attending it, the difference between men’s and women’s jobs is gradually disappearing. It takes special skills, primarily leadership skills, to become a large shareholder, or even a small but active shareholder, or a company director.
I believe that women can do this very well, and that they even have an advantage over men, who can act tougher than women do, if I may say so. But when leadership skills combine with women’s traditional qualities – in the direct meaning of this word – the result is often better than the toughest of men can achieve.
I am sure that we will have a business-like conversation, and I am a little apprehensive, because you are practical people who come across problems in your work. But we will do our best – the acting governor and I, as well as our aides and the plenipotentiary envoy – we will try to represent the male half of humanity as well as possible today.
Please, accept my heartfelt greetings on the coming holiday.
Vladimir Putin: We talked today, and we spoke about the problems which are still to be resolved, and the challenges which have not yet been overcome. However, there are also positive examples, such as those given by the lady on my left, or by the young lady who has just spoken and told us about her achievements. This means that the support mechanisms we have created over the years do work and help the development of businesses, including small and medium-size ones. Even though a lot needs to be done, let me repeat, a great deal, we are now going to additionally propose those mechanisms for the economy and to promote them in the market.
But I would like to conclude with the following. You know that we keep on saying that men and women should be made equal in all areas. It was said here that things are more difficult for women. Indeed, there is such an approach and understanding that today’s world, the world in general, is a man’s world. And the other side of the coin is, in fact, about equality or inequality of rights. And we really have to do a lot in this regard so that there are no differences in rights. Yet there are some values in our cultural code that I believe to be fundamental. For us, a woman remains a woman and a man remains a man. Thank God we have no confusion in our heads, in our souls and in our culture. And with all the advantages that women have – business acumen and a very careful attitude towards their occupation – they also have other competitive advantages: charm, beauty, warm-heartedness. This is what men have always valued very much, still value and will always value.
I wish you a happy holiday!