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 Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, and the former Soviet Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan 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.
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.