Belarus plans to abolish bans on profession for women

Irina Kostevich, Belarusian Minister of Labor and Social Protection, has announced the government’s plans to abolish the list of professional occupations prohibited for women, which currently includes 181 professional occupations and 42 spheres of work.

In her opinion, modern technologies allow to avoid harming women’s health, which means that the use of restrictive measures is no longer justified. She also acknowledged that women actually work in positions prohibited for them, such as truck driving. As a result, they are more vulnerable and unable to effectively defend their labor rights. At the same time, it is more difficult for women to find work than for men, so they try to hold on to their workplaces, regardless of inappropriate working conditions.

Earlier, Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” and “Her Rights” Centre (Belarus) submitted a report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (http://adcmemorial.org/wp-content/uploads/BelW_ruWWW.pdf) concerning gender restrictions in labor sphere for women. The Committee then recommended Belarus to revise the list of professional occupations prohibited for women. UN CEDAW has repeatedly pointed out the discriminatory approach, when all women were deprived of the right to choose the path of their professional development.

ADC “Memorial” in its report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) pointed out the consequences of discriminatory restrictions, which resulted in unemployment and were especially detrimental to women in rural areas. Following that, the UN CESCR requested the Belarusian authorities to provide information on the steps taken to abolish the list of professions prohibited for women.

The campaign “All jobs for all women in Belarus” organized by the Belarusian Organization of Working Women became part of the ADC “Memorial” international campaign #AllJobs4AllWomen, which aims for the abolition of the list of professions prohibited for women in all countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Сollage by Carolina Poliakova