Let's consider this sentence:

I'm a member of the Japanese Renju Association.

A member translates into Russian as член, but the grammatical gender of this word is masculine, so I'm curious how I can make a feminitive of that word. You know, the feminitive of учитель is учительница, and the feminitive of директор is директриса. The feminitive of поэт is поэтесса, and the feminitive of акушер is акушерка. How can I make a feminitive of член?

I did some research and saw a suggestion that членша will work, but I couldn't find that word in dictionaries. Is it really a valid, accepted high-register word? And if there's no accepted high-register feminitive of член, I'm curious as to why.

Sure, I'm aware that I can simply say, "Я - член Японской ассоциации рэндзю," but I want to add a suffix to emphasize my gender. This is especially important if I want to say in Russian, "I'm one of the few female members of the Japanese Renju Association." My attempts to translate that into Russian have resulted in the following variants:

(1) Я одна из немногих членш Японской ассоциации рэндзю.

(2) Я одна из немногих женских членов Японской ассоциации рэндзю.

But my gut tells me neither of them is good, and I'm curious as to how native Russian speakers would put it.

  • No hyphen or dash is needed when the subject is a pronoun: "Я член Японской ассоциации рэндзю". I remember this well because I've been penalised for this in one of my Total Dictations: totaldict.ru May 5, 2020 at 11:52
  • is Японская ассоциация рэндзю an established term in Russian? There are numerous counterexamples of course, but societies like this are more often than not called общество or сообщество in Russian.
    – Quassnoi
    May 5, 2020 at 13:21
  • 4
    I would consider участница (participant) instead of member: Я являюсь участницей японской ассоциации рендзю. Я одна из немногих участниц японской ассоциации рэндзю. You will need to decide based on context whether or not member can be substituted with participant. May 6, 2020 at 13:38
  • 1
    @Mitsuko, offtopic, but кстати: in your educated optinion, what rendering is closer you your native pronunciation, рэндзю or renju? Do you feel comfortable using Russian spelling? (You must be aware of all this суси/sushi/суши issue). Perhaps in chat if you prefer.
    – Zeus
    May 7, 2020 at 2:13
  • 2
    Lemme try to explain you how I see questions like суси vs суши vs sushi. Imagine you approach a Texas cowboy and tell him, "The name of one place in Texas is Thunderbird Bay. In your opinion, what should we call it in Russian - Сандaбёд Бэй, Тандебёрд Бэй, or what? Which is closer to the original pronunciation?" Try to put yourself in the cowboy's shoes, and you'll understand how I see questions like yours :) I'm a humble undergraduate student, and you want me to meddle into Russian affairs and tell you how you Russians should say things in your language :)
    – Mitsuko
    May 8, 2020 at 12:46

7 Answers 7


In Russian, член is only male, and adjectives referring to that noun should agree with it in masculine, too:

Великобритания — постоянный член Совета Безопасности ООН.


Великобритания — член ООН. Также она постоянный член Совета Безопасности ООН.

For your purpose, the best way out is to add the word "женщина", that is use a noun, not an adjective ("женский член" sounds like a weird obscene oxymoron in Russian):

Я одна из немногих женщин — членов Японской ассоциации рэндзю.

It can be said in a bit different way:

Я одна из немногих женщин, являющихся членами Японской ассоциации рэндзю.

  • 14
    +1 for "weird obscene oxymoron" :) May 5, 2020 at 11:46
  • 10
    Or simply drop the cursed word: "одна из немногих женщин, состоящих в Японской ассоциации рэндзю". May 6, 2020 at 12:20

Please don't. Many feminitives sound like mockery (директорша, врачиха), unless they are well-established (учительница, официантка, вахтёрша). Even when fairly acceptable feminine versions exist, sometimes masculine are still preferred: женщина-повар (over повариха), поэт (over поэтесса), писатель (over писательница). The word поэтесса was despised by Anna Akhmatova (I find it fine by the way). "Писательница" sounds like she only writes children's books.

So I would go with:

Я одна из немногих женщин — членов Японской ассоциации рэндзю.

To even things out, some professions only have feminine names: няня, балерина, прачка. To refer to men, you would have to gather up your creativity and come up with something like мужчина-няня, танцор балета, оператор стиральной машины.

N.B. Orthography note: compound words like женщина-повар, мужчина-няня are spelt with a hyphen (-). But if either part is compound itself, а long dash is used: женщина — детский писатель, женщина — член Японской ассоциации рэндзю.

  • 4
    I think the male ballet dancer is балерон.
    – Anixx
    May 5, 2020 at 17:59
  • 3
    Could you point to a reference about the use of long dash with compound compounds?
    – Ruslan
    May 5, 2020 at 20:21
  • 1
    Ну вариант с тире тоже звучит не очень: будто женщина — по определению член ассоциации. Его можно воспринять как «Я одна из немногих женщин, т.е. членов Японской ассоциации рэндзю».
    – Ruslan
    May 6, 2020 at 7:06
  • 1
    Усатый Нянь? Судя по-всему, существует мужской вариант слова. Балерун? С прачкой я затрудняюсь.
    – dEmigOd
    May 6, 2020 at 13:51
  • 3
    Officially, only "атрист балета". Everything else is very informal and often even derogatory.
    – Zeus
    May 7, 2020 at 1:58

There are tree facts we try to cram into a single sentence:

OP is member of Japanese Renju association
OP is female
Women are minority in Japanese Renju association

I believe the translation

Я являюсь членом японской ассоциации рендзю

is the most accurate equivalent of the original "I am the member of Japanese Renju association". Just like in English version, this version communicates only the first fact, disregarding information about OP's gender and the minority status within the organization. Even if an OP's gender is known, this would mean little to an average reader who is unfamiliar with this organization and renju as a whole.

To add the two latter facts, the original message should be heavily rephrased to point to them directly:

Я одна из немногих женщин-членов японской ассоциации рэндзю.
Я одна из немногих женщин, состоящих в японской ассоциации рэндзю.
Я одна из немногих женщин в японской ассоциации рэндзю.

The first sentence has been already discussed here. Here we use the noun-noun structure to use a pair of nouns as a single noun. In the second sentence, we use the verb-preposition pair состоять в as to be member of [some organization, club] and convert it to conjugated present participle состоящих в. In the third sentence, OP's membership in this organization is implied.

If we omit the information about the minority status of women in the Japanese Renju association, we can point to OP's gender a bit more subtly by using alternative feminine nouns. One way is to use the word участница

Я являюсь участницей японской ассоциации рэндзю.

While this is not the most natural way of declaring the membership, it communicates the gender and the fact of membership quite effectively. The word участница is not very commonly used with ассоциация, but can be found sometimes in the literature: Страны-участницы Ассоциации стран Юго-Восточной Азии

Alternatively, past participles and past tense verbs can be used to communicate gender:

Я была принята в японскую ассоциацию рэндзю.

Which is equivalent to "I was accepted to Japanese Renju association", heavily implying that the membership is not open for everyone and there is a certain application process. One can divert attention from this fact a little bit by adding extra information, like В 2007 году я была принята в японскую ассоциацию рэндзю.

Alternatives to accepted could be "вступила", "вошла", "была включена" which describe the membership in slightly different angles


There's no feminine for член apart intentionally comic and use exclusively as such "членша". The reason for this is that член is like ветка or отросток or ответвление - throughout the history of language the was no request for giving this words gender tint at all. Even for very radical pro-feminitive proponents it's just not something that is discussed right now.

If you still want to stress out that you are a feminine member of any community, association, club you can go with other words that (not completely though) substitute the word "член", such as "участница Японскою ассоциации рэндзю".

Every language has it set of rules by which it exists. This sets of rules are not set in stone and the evolve throughout the time, but what we have now is what we have now. Imagine someone from a language where verbs differ buy conjugation in present, like I don't know, Hebrew if memory serves me well, who will ask question like: "How to say "я состою в этом клубе" but use "состою" specifically in feminine. There's no way to do it.

If you want to specifically stress out that you are one of few women in the club you can say something like:

Я являюсь членом Японской ассоциации рэндзю. Нас, женщин, в клубе немного.

Not always something we are trying to express should be contained in a single sentence.


I would suggest using "участница" instead of "член", but only in case, you want to emphasize gender. In all other cases "член" is okay. "членша" sounds funny though.


No hyphen, no dash. Just say Я одна из членов японской ассоциации рэндзю. Because член is used the same for both female and male I added одна which allows to point to gender. Hope you found your answer!


For what it's worth, you could say: "Я один из женских участников ассоциации Х" if you would like to emphasize that you are a member and are female, or: "Я одна из участниц ассоциации Х" if you would like to use a feminine noun and pronoun while at the same time being more subtly about the fact that you are female, as opposed to pointing directly to being female by using "женских". My Russian is a bit rusty, so please watch out for any spelling mistakes in my versions.

Член probably best translates as member and there's no membress and equally no explicit female counterpart in член either.

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