On the Bans

Lists of professions banned for women are a relic of the Soviet era. Overt discrimination of women in the workplace is attributed to concern about their “reproductive health.”

Laws in Belarus, Russia, and Tajikistan still ban women from hundreds of professions, including high-paying and prestigious ones.

The longest list of restrictions in the region has been in force in Azerbaijan since 1999 and bans 678 jobs in 38 sectors. From 31 May 2023, work restrictions have only remained for pregnant women and women with children under 1 year of age.

In Uzbekistan, professional bans for women were lifted on May 1, 2019, but soon after the country published virtually the same list of banned jobs, only the restrictions were framed as recommendations. In practice, women still cannot secure employment in professions that are “unadvisable” for them.

Armenia and Georgia have removed mentions of the lists from their labor codes, but restrictions still exist: Armenia has not yet revoked its list of jobs and professions harmful for women, minors, and persons with disabilities, while Georgia still has a similar list banning certain jobs for women who are pregnant or nursing.

During the campaign, the ban on professions for women was lifted in Moldova (2017), Ukraine (2017), Turkmenistan (2019), Uzbekistan (2019), Kazakhstan (2021), and Azerbaijan (2023). Lists of prohibited professions have been shortened in Russia (2021), Belarus (2022) and Tajikistan (2023).

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