I think this thing about the toughness is particularly true for the Russian women. Its roots probably lie in the systematic destruction of the Russian man - by wars, communism, etc. Since there's no empty spaces in the nature, someone had to step in and fill the role... But in America, hey, you've wanted the equality :)
The Soviet system, with its forceful introduction of social equality, has made it possible for women to demonstrate they CAN do what men can. Unfortunately, it did not require the same of men. The American path to equality has been slower in many ways but entirely more sustainable.