Achievements in opposing professional bans for women in 2021

News of the campaign #AllJobs4AllWomen

Kazakhstan: cancellation of the list of prohibited professions and exclusion of discriminatory articles from the Labor Code

On October 12, President Tokayev signed the Law “On Amendments and Additions to Several Legal Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan Regarding Social Protection for Certain Categories of Citizens,” which removes restrictions on employment for women from the Labor Code. This measure to eliminate discrimination against women was part of the Urgent Action Plan in the field of human rights, which was approved on June 11, 2021.

In accordance with the amendments, Kazakhstan’s Labor Code will no longer mention “banned professions.” This means that

  • the list of professions banned for women will be repealed (the corresponding words were deleted from subclause 27 of Article 16; however, this article still lists maximum weights that women can lift and move by hand);

  • the ban on women signing a labor contract and working in professions from which they were previously excluded has been lifted (subclause 4 of clause 2 of Article 26 – ban on women holding “arduous, harmful or dangerous jobs from the list of jobs restricted for women” — was deleted).

Russia: the list of prohibited professions continues to be reduced

In Russia, the list of professions prohibited for women continues to be reduced. From March 1, 2022, by order of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Russian Federation, a number of professions were allowed in aviation (such as an aviation mechanic (technician) working with airframe and engines, instruments and electrical equipment, radio equipment, parachute and emergency rescue equipment; an aviation technician working with fuel and lubricants; a wing technician; an engineer working on the maintenance of aircrafts (helicopters)).

Raising again this issue in an alternative report to the UN CEDAW, ADC Memorial insisted on complete abolition of professional bans and exclusion of the discriminatory norms from the Labor Code. On its 80th session (November 2021), The Committee recommended Russian authorities to revise the list in order to eliminate discriminatory gender stereotypes.

Kyrgyzstan: the authorities expressed their readiness to change the restrictive approach to women’s employment

During the constructive dialogue at the 80th session of the UN CEDAW (November 2021), representatives of the Kyrgyzstan state delegation expressed their readiness to review the restrictive approach to women’s right work and put gender equality at the forefront. In its Concluding Observations, the Committee recommended to amend the restrictive articles 218 and 303 of the Labour Code, to review the list of banned occupations (Government Decree No. 158 of 24 March 2000), to facilitate women’s access to such professions and to ensure proportional and individual approach to any occupational restrictions (now the prohibitions apply to all women, regardless of their age, wish and/or ability to have children).

Belarus: authorities promise to halve the list of prohibited professions

During the review of the state report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in February, 2022, the representative of the Ministry of Labor of the Republic of Belarus announced the reduction of the list of professions prohibited for women by half – from 181 to 90. The CESCR recommended to completely remove restrictions on women’s employment and strengthen the protection of the rights of employed mothers.

Uzbekistan: the UN CEDAW recommended reviewing the restrictive approach to women’s employment

Considering the state report of Uzbekistan and alternative materials at its 81st session (February 2022), the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressed concern with the fact that instead of the abolished List of professions prohibited for women, a new “recommendative” list was introduced, actually copying the previous one. At the same time, women make up only 12% of employees in managerial positions, there is a significant gender pay gap, horizontal and vertical gender segregation in the labor market, barriers for employment of women from vulnerable groups.

The Committee recommended to Uzbekistan to refocus its employment policy and base it on the principle of gender equality, in particular, review the list of non-recommended occupations restricting women’s access to certain professions and jobs; facilitate women’s access to such occupations; and ensure that any restrictions are proportionate and applied on a case-by-case basis and not sweepingly to all women.