Svetlana Medvedeva spent years studying for her chosen profession, Volga River boat captain, before she hit a roadblock in the form of a law she had never heard of.
Ms. Medvedeva had the necessary degree, training, and years of experience working aboard the passenger ships that ply the vast Volga River, which flows by her home town of Samara. But in 2012 she was denied advancement because commanding a riverboat was one of 456 professions in Russia legally barred to women for being considered too hazardous or arduous for them to perform. She ended up suing over the law.
“I was blocked from doing what I wanted not because I was unqualified, but just because I was a woman,” says Ms. Medvedeva. She spent five years fighting in the courts, received support from the United Nations, and eventually won her landmark court victory in 2017. “My case was one of the first gender discrimination suits, and the court in Samara recognized it.”
Read full: The Christian Science Monitor