CEDAW and CESCR Experts Call for Repeal of the List of Jobs Banned for Women

During its 71st Session, the Committee to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women made a recommendation to the Government of Tajikistan to repeal articles 160, 161, and 216 of the country’s Labor Code and the list of professions banned for women. CEDAW experts believe that the restrictions should be applied on a case-by-case basis to avoid impinging on the rights of all women.

While welcoming measures taken by the Tajik authorities to support women entrepreneurs and to regulate domestic work and work from home, CEDAW recommended reviewing the strategy for labor market development from the gender perspective and taking measures to increase women’s access to higher paying and male-dominated sectors. It also noted the gender pay gap, vertical and horizontal occupational segregation in the labor market, and the high concentration of women in the informal sector and in low-paid jobs in healthcare, education, and agriculture. Only 40 percent of women work officially, while almost 60 percent of men do. The absence of social security programs, the shortage pre-school facilities, and conflicting family responsibilities force women to remain unemployed. Women with reduced competitiveness, for example, women with disabilities, mothers with many children, single mothers, pregnant women, and women left behind by male migrants, do not have sufficient opportunities for employment. Committee members recommended that the government ratify the ILO Maternity Protection Convention (No. 183) and the ILO Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention (No. 156).

The Committee for Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights also considered restrictions on the employment of women to be an important topic and compiled a list of questions for the state reports of Belarus and Ukraine.

Experts asked the government of Belarus to provide them with information on measures taken to remove the legal prohibition on women’s right to work in 182 professions and on the impact of these measures on the elimination of strong gender role stereotypes. In an alternative report submitted to the Committee, ADC “Memorial” pointed out the consequences of discriminatory restrictions, which have resulted in unemployment and have been particularly harmful to women in rural districts.

CESCR members asked Ukraine to provide information about the impact of the revocation of a list of banned professions restricting women’s access to over 450 jobs and inquired about concrete steps taken to promote training and employment for women seeking previously banned jobs. In spite of positive steps to revoke discriminatory norms, Committee members asked Ukrainian authorities to report on progress amending articles 175 and 176 of the Labor Code, which envisages labor restrictions for women.

The ADC “Memorial” campaign All jobs for all women calls for the revocation of the list of banned professions and other gender restrictions in the labor sphere for women in former Soviet countries.

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