Feminine Representation Of The Business Sphere: A Communicative-Cultural Aspect


The article is devoted to the study of such a complex issue as the linguistic and cultural type of a “business woman” which is associated with the transformation of a value-orientation system in modern society, as well as the modification of the socio-cultural space which reflects qualitative changes of social formations in the linguistic consciousness that previously adhered to traditional patterns of behavior. The methodological basis of the study is the theory of linguistic-cultural types, singled out as a separate area of linguopersonology. Its tasks include the study of typed personalities which are recognizable generalized representatives of a certain culture, whose behavior most clearly demonstrates its values and norms. The female image has always been included in the system of primary values of any linguistic and cultural community. At the same time, contrary to the established traditions of an extremely wide variational nomination of the most significant phenomena of human existence, a rather poor paradigm of images-stereotypes of the feminine principle has developed so far. Therefore, the appearance of a new linguistic-cultural type of a “business woman” as a qualitatively representative image in several nominees in Russian marks the transition of traditional communities to a new stage of cultural development. According to the study, the dynamics of the social growth of women entrepreneurs is reflected in the transformation from the once low-status position of a female trader to a world-class business woman.

Keywords: Business womanconcept structurepersonality typestatus subtype of the concept value connotationverbal representation


Female entrepreneurship in the development of the economy of the whole country occupies a significant sector. Great potential and good dynamics in the development of women's entrepreneurship in the Russian regions is a component of the national strategy. A number of preferences for women-entrepreneurs are provided for in regulatory legal documents. Women's business goes beyond the traditional enterprises of the lower and middle echelon to big formations of large complexes and corporations, including in high-tech industries, which determines the special cultural significance of the new concept of “business woman”.

Problem Statement

The description of the new linguistic and cultural type of a “business woman” is a multidimensional approach to conceptual analysis based on the Russian language material, revealing the underlying mechanisms and diachronic connections of the cognitive-verbal description of this phenomenon in the worldview of the Russian society.

Research Questions

In the structure of the linguistic and cultural type of the “business woman”, cultural and temporal varieties are manifested, they are based on the status criterion, the appearance of which was laid down in the 90s of the last century, a dynamic analysis of the development of which in the new socio-economic conditions is undertaken in the article. The identification of the basic nominators of the concept in the Russian language space, as well as the determination of the value and meaningful content of the subspecies components of the image of a “business woman” are represented as related tasks (Tameryan et al., 2019). A dynamic analysis of the development of varieties of linguistic-cultural type of a “business woman” in the new socio-economic conditions is undertaken in this article.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this article is a comprehensive linguistic, cultural, and sociolinguistic modeling of the communicative status subspecies of the linguistic and cultural type of a “business woman” as an explicator of a new socio-cultural phenomenon in the linguistic consciousness of the Russians and the identification of its basic representatives. The material for the study was text fragments from the Internet blogs, forums, social networks and media publications, fiction texts, examples from the National Corps of the Russian Language; as well as data from defining dictionaries of the Russian and English languages.

Research Methods

The authors carried out the research in line with the sociolinguistic and linguocultural direction in the aspect of the theory of linguocultural types and Linguopersonology. The consistent application of the principles of system integration in the analysis of the linguistic and cultural type of a “business woman” allows a comprehensive approach to the study, including the consideration of this phenomenon from various angles, based on methods of semantic, cognitive and conceptual analysis, methods of contextual and discursive analysis.

The appeal to the linguocultural type as a unit of research is due to the need to develop a set of criteria - sociocultural, linguopsychological and discursive - the phenomenon of stereotyping, which is due to the maximum anthropocentricity of both the object of study and the chosen approach to describe it (Barrett & Davidson, 2006; Gardner et al., 1973; Rogers et al., 2013; Tameryan et al., 2018; Zheltukhina & Zyubina, 2018; Zheltukhina et al., 2019). A number of Russian scientists are working in this area. Among them, it is necessary to note the work of O.A. Dmitrieva, devoted to the specifics of the explication of stereotypical constructions typified by the Russian and French linguistic cultures (Dmitrieva, 2007). One of the most striking examples of the analysis of typed areas of the national conceptual sphere is the work of Karasik and Yarmakhova (2006), in which the authors are completely new to the process of modeling a national character. Generalized images with characterological features identified in the nuclear content area form a specific field of anthropoid nominees in the conceptual sphere of each linguistic culture, the active and communicative behavior of which can be perceived as an ethnic-national representation that characterizes the community as a kind of integrity for representatives of other linguistic cultures.


The evolution of the objective and axiological components of the image of a business woman can be clearly seen in the materials of the Russian media reflecting the picture of the mass consciousness of the corresponding era, according to fragments of literary texts and electronic resources:

<…> Norki, ob"yasnili mne razgovorivshiesya «chelnochnitsy», vezut v osnovnom iz Turtsii i Italii (Minks, the chatting "suitcase traders" explained to me, are being transported mainly from Turkey and Italy) (AIF.ru, 1994);

Chelnochnitsa nastroena ochen' optimistichno. Po ee slovam, nastoyashchiy chelnochnyy biznes tol'ko nachinaetsya. Delo v tom, chto polyakam nashu vizu poluchit' slozhnee, chem nam pol'skuyu. Znachit, ne oni teper' u nas vodku skupat' budut, a my im prodavat' (The suitcase trader is very optimistic. According to her, the real shuttle business is just beginning. The fact is that it is more difficult for the Polish people to get our visa than for us to get a Polish one. So, now they will not buy vodka from us, but we will sell them) (NKRYA, 2020).

The lexeme a suitcase trader is deactivated as this phenomenon disappears. It should be noted that, within the framework of the conceptualization of the new concept of a “business woman,” an important role is played by the previously existing and more uncommon as a result of changing economic formations the nominations containing the basic archysems – “woman” and “belonging to the business sphere”. The lexemes купчиха, торговка, негоциантка, коммерсантка, нэпманша, частная торговка are present in the structure of the “business woman” concept, forming a passive layer of its socio-cultural zone.

The nomination a woman-entrepreneur showing quite a high degree of introduction into the linguistic consciousness (so, already in 1991, the Association of Russian Women Entrepreneurs was created and became widely known) has not been fixed lexicographically yet (Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Russia, 2020). There is an illustration of its use with several examples:

Esli by predprinimatel'nitsy soobshchali by lipovye adresa, to pis'ma nepremenno vernulis' by obratno neraspechatannye, i togda konfuza ne izbezhat' (If women-entrepreneurs gave fake addresses, the letters would certainly come back unopened, and then embarrassment could not be avoided) (NKRYA, 2020);

<…> Posylayut vam putevoy list dlya legkovogo avtomobilya individual'nogo predprinimatelya. Pust' te, kto ego sochinil, ob"yasnyayut, kak ya, individual'naya predprinimatel'nitsa, zapolnyu grafu o tom, chto ya «po sostoyaniyu zdorov'ya k upravleniyu avtomobilya dopushchena» - kem?! Soboy? Chey tam shtamp? (They send you a waybill for a car of an individual entrepreneur. Let those who composed it explain how I, an individual woman-entrepreneur, will fill in the column stating that “for health reasons, I am allowed to drive a car” - by whom?! Myself? Whose stamp is there?) (NKRYA, 2020).

We emphasize that the semantics of the words mistress and owner are most closely related to the notions of individual property, connecting historical sections of eras by a dynamic vector.

The phrase business woman first encountered in a meaning that reflected the realities of the Soviet era. This colloquial usage testifies to the fact that during the USSR there was a concept of a business person (man or woman), correlated with state or social activity of the socialist stage of the country's development.

The concept of a “business woman” arose on the basis of the meaning of the adjective business: “relating to public, official activity, to work; knowledgeable, sensible, efficient” (Ozhegov & Shvedova, 2008):

Tebe nado odevat'sya, mazat'sya, krasit'sya, u tebya segodnya prem'era. Ty delovaya zhenshchina (You have to dress up, paint yoursef, make up your face, you have the premiere today. You are a business woman) (NKRYA, 2020).

In the current meaning, the phrase business woman was recorded in 2008:

Ona – ekspressivno-delovaya zhenshchina, chto nazyvaetsya, s zheleznoy khvatkoy (She is an expressive business woman, as they say, with an iron grip) (NKRYA, 2020).

Osen'. Larisa Igorevna (delovaya zhenshchina, khozyayka!) sklonilas' k bumagam (It’s autumn. Larisa Igorevna (a business woman, a mistress!) leant towards the papers) (NKRYA, 2020).

“Defining dictionary of the Russian language of the beginning of the XXI century. Actual vocabulary” allows two graphic norms – biznes-ledi and biznesledi (a business woman and a businesswoman). The second option represents a seamless combination without preserving the deep structure of the business and woman components in the surface structure; in addition, it introduces new borrowings – biznesvumen and biznes-vumen (a businesswoman and a business woman) as verbalizers of gender differences in the semantically unified businessman existing in the English language; colloquial forms of biznesmenka and biznesmensha are also acceptable. The dictionary also presents examples of wider use of representatives of this concept, equipped with labels marking the sphere of use and stylistic characteristics of lexemes (Sklyarevskaya, 2008, p. 86).

The explication of the negative components of the semantics of the representatives of the “business woman” concept in the texts of the late 20th century demonstrates society’s rejection of the new phenomenon of the period of predatory capitalism in Russia. In the contexts of a later time, pejorative associations connected with the “professional” component of the concept are smoothed out, and at the same time, the notes of sexism appear. These directions of the dynamic vector of cognitive characteristics of linguistic and cultural type will be objectified in the following examples.

The prevailing shade of disapproval due to the discrepancy between the image of the beginning entrepreneurs of the new economic era and the expected one based on Western stereotypes is demonstrated in the following fragment:

Kolgotki v setochku – eto kak-to po-zhenski elegantno i navernyaka zhutko soblaznitel'no. No ne v sochetanii so strogim kostyumom zhenshchiny, rabotayushchey v vofise. Biznes-vumen ne nosyat seksual'nykh kolgotok, khotya by tol'ko potomu, chto oni snachala «biznes» i tol'ko potom «vumen» (Fishnet tights – it is somehow feminin, elegant and certainly terribly seductive. But not in combination with a strict suit of a woman working in an office. Businesswomen do not wear sexy tights, because at least they are first “business” and only then “women”) (NKRYA, 2020).

Individual-author derivation from the masculine-labeled lexeme businessman – biznesmenShA and its correction of the component to the feminine form of biznesVUMENsha emphasizes the connection with the donor English.

Uncommon usage within the framework of multi-meaning contexts is typical for colloquial forms of actualized units of the nominative field of the concept under consideration – biznesmensha, colloquial = biznesmenka (LMEDRL, 2020):

<…> G-zha Tea Gurgurich soobshchila operativnikam, chto v poslednie mesyatsy prodazhi spetsii v Moskve sil'no snizilis', i spetsialisty ee kompanii sumeli nayti etomu ob"yasnenie. Okazalos', chto gorod navodnen poddelkami khorvatskoy produktsii. Posle etogo biznesmensha pred"yavila obrazets fal'shivoy «Vegety» (Ms. Thea Gurgurich told investigators that in recent months, sales of spices in Moscow had fallen dramatically, and her company’s specialists were able to find an explanation for this. It turned out that the city was full of fakes of Croatian products. After that the businessmansha presented a sample of a fake "Vegeta") (NKRYA, 2020).

The following text fragments allow us to conclude that not only the colloquial feminine gender-specific job title of biznesmensha, representing the described concept but the standard units, including the key nomination of biznes-ledi, function in speech as a substitute of the word “trader”, which in its direct meaning (“a woman engaged in petty market or street trading”) is deactivated. Thus, the meaning of the obsolete lexeme is introduced into the current sector of representatives of the linguistic and cultural type of “biznes-ledi”:

This street businesswoman (businessmansha) must have failed to have any idea of politeness. Such people must be cut immediately, and in a language they understand (Akopyan & Mostitskaya, 2020);

An underground businesswoman (businessmansha) from Nikolsk, under one roof, was selling fake alcohol and buying up stolen colormet (Regnum.ru, 2004).

V obshchem, skoro dama moego serdtsa stanet krutoy biznesmenshey, vernee biznesvumenshey. Ol'ge i samoy nravitsya ee novoe polozhenie (All in all, soon the lady of my heart will become a cool businessmanshey, or rather a businesswoman. Olga herself likes her new position) (Ugryumov, 2004).

As a socio-culturally significant nomination in the period of the 90s of the 20th century, the lexeme “private owner” was actualized: it denoted a woman individually engaged in small-scale trade or providing private services (the latter is not fixed by dictionaries).

Different-valued contexts of the 21st century represent a private entrepreneur (coll.) to a greater extent as a small self-employed entrepreneur:

Rossiyskaya massazhistka-chastnitsa slomala nogi semimesyachnomu rebenku (A private Russian masseur broke legs of the seven-month-old baby) (Stolyarova & Piterkina, 2019);

Uborka kvartir, myt'e okon. Klining. Chastnitsa. (Tiding apartments, washing windows. Cleaning. A private entrepreneur.) (Elvira, 2020);

Chastnitsu, pytavshuyusya sbyt' po Ordzhonikidzevskomu rayonu kontrafaktnykh sigaret na bolee chem 8,5 mln rubley, sud v Ekaterinburge prigovoril k… (A private trader who tried to sell counterfeit cigarettes in the Ordzhonikidze district for more than 8.5 million rubles, a court in Yekaterinburg sentenced to ...) (Service of information, 2019).

At the initial stage of new economic relations in Russia, a business woman was associated with a mistress who possessed the qualities of a hooligan and a robber, a masculine woman, necessary during the period of predatory capitalism to make her way in the business world:

Otvergaet delovoe soobshchestvo i eshche nedavno vpolne priemlemye, dazhe simpatichnye (znay, mol, nashikh!) chrezmernuyu agressivnost', nerazborchivost' v sredstvakh, nakhrapistost' – slovom, vsyacheskoe piratstvo epokhi pervonachal'nogo nakopleniya. Vprochem, perezhitki proshlogo v soznanii eshche vstrechayutsya (ob odnoy biznes-ledi otozvalis' s uvazhitel'noy intonatsiey: «khozyayka, bandersha, razboynitsa!») (Rejects the business community and recently quite acceptable, even sympathetic (know, say, ours!) excessive aggressiveness, promiscuity in means, aptly – in short, all piracy of the era of initial accumulation. However, remnants of the past in consciousness still meet (about one business lady they spoke with respectful intonation: “mistress, bandersha, robber!”) (The results of the investigation, 2003).

In the National Corps of the Russian Language, only one context of the use of the lexeme “business woman” is recorded, which reveals the year of its consolidation in literary Russian (1997):

Garik Sukachev snyal kino. «Krizis srednego vozrasta». Uchenyy-medik, possorivshis' s zhenoy, edet iz Pitera v Moskvu. I ustraivaetsya na «skoruyu pomoshch'». <…>. I neozhidanno vidit, chto vse ego klienty – bandit, polusumasshedshaya biznes-ledi, izvestnyy khudozhnik, prestarelyy general – lyudi, nashedshie mesto v zhizni i etim mestom dovol'nye (Garik Sukachev made a movie. "Middle age crisis". A medical scientist, quarreling with his wife, goes from St. Petersburg to Moscow. And goes to work to ambulance. <...>. And suddenly he sees that all his clients - a bandit, a half-crazy business woman, a famous artist, an elderly general – are people who have found a place in life and are satisfied with this place) (NKRYA, 2020).

The cited fragment does not show the negative accentuation of the entrepreneur’s image that is characteristic of the early post-Soviet stereotypical perception of a “business man”, which is realized by the general meaning of the statement and units of pejorative assessment as a whole.

At the next stage, a business woman appears as a woman who has taken on an unbearable burden, a single woman who focuses only on work, promoting her enterprise:

<…> 80% biznes-ledi (direktorov firm, malykh i sovmestnykh predpriyatiy, biznesmenok-odinochek) podayut na razvod po sobstvennoy initsiative. Oni ne vyderzhivayut nagruzki i doma, i na rabote (<...> 80% of business women (directors of companies, small and joint ventures, single businesswomen) divorce on their own initiative. They cannot withstand the burden both at home and at work.) (NKRYA, 2020).

A few years later, a different image of a business woman developed with its characteristic features of efficiency, responsibility, and signs of behavior of a lady of high society, that was consolidated in fiction. In the following extract from the novel “Business Woman in a Big City” by Tuntsova (2004), the existence of such a new phenomenon as a business woman is described with a mild irony, through which acceptance and respect are already clearly visible. In the fragment below, the business woman did not even part with the phone during childbirth:

<…> ya seychas ne smogu vam plitku poschitat', davayte zavtra. Nu, ponimaete, ya prosto seychas rozhayu, a zavtra uzhe budu svobodna.

Kak ona, na polnom ser'eze, potom govorila.

– “Lyudi s ponimaniem otneslis'”

(<...> I can’t count the tiles for you right now, let’s tomorrow. Well, you see, I'm just giving birth now, and tomorrow I will be free.

As she, in all seriousness, then spoke.

– “People reacted with understanding”) (Ice cream, 2012).

“Sportsmenka, biznes-ledi i prosto krasavitsa!” (“An athlete, a business woman, and just a beauty!”) (Dzhioeva, 2019). This is how the precedent phrase from L. Gaidai’s famous comedy “The Captive of the Caucasus, or Shurik’s Adventures” in the article about a forty-seven-year-old Madelena Murieva, a business woman who had been running for only two years but nevertheless became the first woman from North Ossetia to finish an international Moscow marathon. This manifested the qualities that distinguish a business woman - persistence in achieving goals and firmness of mind. She set a goal and realized it.

Consider the functioning of the lexemes of business lady and business woman as full synonyms:

Ruslana – biznesvumen, u nee svoe reklamnoe agentstvo, v nem rabotayut 40 chelovek (Ruslana is a business woman, she has her own advertising agency, 40 people work in it) (Gorina, 2004);

Temnyy bryuchnyy kostyum, gladkaya pricheska plyus tufli iz perforirovannoy zamshi – primerno tak dolzhna vyglyadet' talantlivaya biznesledi v razgar rabochego dnya v ofise (A dark trouser suit, sleek hairstyle plus perforated suede shoes - something like this should look a talented business lady in the midst of a busy day at the office) (NKRYA, 2020).

Corresponding qualifiers appear in the following fragment, however, the associative series, in this case, is built not within the framework of professional activity assessment, but in the explication of character traits inherent in the stereotype image of a “business woman”:

Vlastnyy golos, reshitel'nost', energiya i neobkhodimaya tverdost'. Sovladelitsa mebel'nogo salona na Tverskoy – sovremennaya biznesledi (An authoritative voice, determination, energy and the necessary firmness. Co-owner of the furniture salon on Tverskaya – a modern business lady) (NKRYA, 2020).

The introduction in the above statement of explicators with positive evaluative intelligence semantics “talented” and “the height of the working day at the office” acts as an intentional marker for the implementation of the “professionalism” concept of the first component of the “business lady” concept.

In later media texts, the implementation of the components as “appearance”, “efficiency”, “high society”, “status” is traced, for example:

<…> Dlya biznesvumen strogo sorientirovannykh na klassiku, dizaynery linii «Ritmodi Perla» sozdali kollektsiyu shelkovykh bryuchnykh kostyumov, sderzhannykh i elegantnykh (<...> For business women strictly oriented to the classics, the designers of the Rhythmody Perla line created a collection of silk trouser suits, restrained and elegant) (NKRYA, 2020).

In «Cambridge Business English Dictionary» the lexeme “businesswoman” has this definition: «a woman who works in business, especially one who has a high position in a company» (CBED, 2020).

The variability of the seme “status” in the content of the lexeme “business woman” is evidenced by its use in the context of market trade:

Odna iz predprinimatel'nits s rynka «Alan» opublikovala v sotssetyakh video s devushkoy, kotoraya ukrala u nee tovar. Po slovam biznesledi, dannaya grazhdanka uzhe davno promyshlyaet na torgovykh ploshchadyakh goroda i do sikh por ostaetsya beznakazannoy (One of the entrepreneurs from the Alan market posted a video on social networks with a girl who stole her goods. According to the business woman, this citizen has been hunting for goods on the trading floors of the city for a long time and still goes unpunished) (Godunova, 2019).

Whereas at the level of household usus, the contamination of ideas about a business woman, as well as the diverse polarity of her evaluations, remains to this day, then in the professional environment the concepts of business woman and business lady differ in a number of ways. So, the trainers of the Institute of Business and Business Administration under the Government of the Russian Federation define a businesswoman as a woman playing in the men's world according to men's rules: a businesswoman proves, competes with men, and achieves the desired result. A business lady proceeds from a purely female understanding of management in the business picture of the world and achieves her goal using the feminine features of physiology, intelligence, character, and behavior, which always lead her to victory (Stukova, 2009).

Andrei Khrulev’s new film “A Businesswoman from the Village” (2019) tells about an energetic provincial woman who had her own business in Moscow, not far from the metro. But her clothing store fell under the demolition program. And then the misfortunes of the heroine began (Russian Melodrama, 2019). The mentioned film reflects a kind of a businesswoman – a woman for whom running her own business is marked by struggle, battle, nervous tension.

The identified text fragments that represent the activities of the same person, the entrepreneur Elena, during the two months of 2019, allow us to conclude that the lexemes an owner, business woman, entrepreneur and business lady are used as complete synonyms:

Vladelitsa butika vo Vladikavkaze kak dobraya feya pomogaet devushkam iz bednykh semey popast' na shkol'nyy vypusknoy bal v roskoshnykh plat'yakh s pricheskami i makiyazhem (The owner of a boutique in Vladikavkaz, like a good fairy, helps girls from poor families get to the school graduation party in luxurious dresses with hairstyles and makeup) (Petrov, 2019);

Biznesvumen rasskazala, chto v razgar shkol'nykh balov ona dala ob"yavlenie v Internete, v kotorom ukazala, chto ispytyvayushchie finansovye trudnosti devochki mogut besplatno vzyat' lyuboe plat'e v prokat (The businesswoman said that at the height of school balls, she advertised on the Internet, in which she indicated that girls with financial difficulties could rent any dress for free) (Petrov, 2019).

Ranee predprinimatel'nitsa pomogla odet' na vypusknoy bal nuzhdayushchikhsya shkol'nits. Biznesledi, kotoraya ranee besplatno odela vypusknits na bal, reshila otkryt' butik s plat'yami dlya bednykh nevest (Earlier, the entrepreneur helped put on needing schoolgirls for graduation. A business lady who previously dressed graduates for free at a ball decided to open a boutique with dresses for poor brides) (Toporkova, 2019).


An insignificant period of three decades of the new economic era development was manifested in the dynamics of the attributed stereotypical characteristics of the business woman, and their assessment.

In the structure of the linguistic-cultural type of a business lady, three cultural-temporal varieties are clearly traced because of the status criterion – low-status, medium-status, and high-status.

At the initial stage of the appearance of entrepreneurs in Russia in the 1990s, a business lady seemed to be a rude, tastelessly dressed, uncultured woman, a semi-criminal element. This characteristic corresponds to the low status subspecies.

At the intermediate stage, a business lady appears as a woman, a loner, a workaholic, aimed at building a business. This variety describes the medium status subspecies of the concept.

At the present stage, a business lady is a successful entrepreneur, a woman who thrives in all spheres of life, a secular lady, which correlates with the appearance of a high-status variety of image.

In accordance with the intra-image changes, determined largely by social factors, the axiological indicators of the linguocultural type have risen from a negative mark to a positive one. The average status image, reflecting the transitional stage in the formation of the image of a business woman in the linguistic consciousness of the Russian society, was characterized by a wide axiological range, including negative, neutral, positive, and ambivalent evaluations.


The reported study was funded by RFBR and MES RSO according to the research project № 19-512-07002 (10-МК/19). The publication was carried out as a part of the program of supporting the publication activity of the Southern Federal University.


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Multicultural context, learning environment, modern society, personality formation, informatization of the society, economics and law system of the region

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Tameryan, T. Y., Zheltukhina, M. R., Zyubina, I. A., & Buzinova, L. M. (2020). Feminine Representation Of The Business Sphere: A Communicative-Cultural Aspect. In N. L. Shamne, S. Cindori, E. Y. Malushko, O. Larouk, & V. G. Lizunkov (Eds.), Individual and Society in the Modern Geopolitical Environment, vol 99. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 914-924). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.04.105