Gender Hub Azerbaijan launched #AllJobs4AllWomen campaign in Azerbaijan.

Gender Hub Azerbaijan, a social platform that defends women’s rights, has joined the #AllJobs4AllWomen campaign to lift the list of jobs prohibited for women in Azerbaijan.

The list of professions prohibited for women, which has been in force in Azerbaijan since 1999, consists of 678 types of work in 38 sectors. This is the largest list of restrictions on female labour in the region.

In 2019, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, based on the results of consideration of the state report, drew the attention of Azerbaijan to aspects of gender equality in the implementation of socio-economic rights and requested the information on measures aimed at lifting restrictions on women’s employment. Hundreds of professions, including well-paid and in demand, remain inaccessible to women under the pretext of protecting their reproductive function, while the age of women, their ability and desire to have children are not taken into account. This leads to the creation of unequal labour conditions and creates a hurdle not only to professional realisation, but also to the economic independence of women.

In 2019, ADC Memorial, in its alternative information submitted to UN CESR noted the negative impact of deeply ingrained gender stereotypes, which result, inter alia, in violation of women’s rights in employment.

In March 2020, members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women asked the Azerbaijani authorities to provide information on the measures taken to abolish the list of prohibited professions for women and ensure equal access to labour for women and men, on the planned measures to accelerate progress towards equality between women and men in areas where women are disadvantaged or underrepresented, including education and employment.

In response, the Azerbaijani authorities informed the UN CEDAW that they were planning to abolish the list of prohibited professions. In particular, it is reported:

The World Bank provided technical assistance to Azerbaijan in 2020 in “removing legal barriers to women’s employment in Azerbaijan”. The technical support envisaged measures to expand women’s employment opportunities, ensure gender equality and work in higher paid areas, protect women’s rights in accordance with international labor standards. With this aim, the plan is to abolish the List of about 700 professions (positions) and jobs envisaged under the Labor Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan and a relevant decision of the Cabinet of Ministers prohibiting women’s employment, and instead approve the lists of prohibited workplaces and harmful factors for pregnant women and women with children under one year of age in accordance with international standards. Also, in order to eliminate the sharp difference between the average monthly wages of women and men in the country, which is considered as indirect discrimination by ILO experts (in 2018, the average monthly wages of women were 360.8 manats and of men 670.2 manats; in 2019, women received an average of 534.3 manats and men 846.5 manats), changes are being introduced to the national legislation.

In June 2022, the state report of Azerbaijan is going to be considered by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The Committee will evaluate how the relevant Convention, is observed in Azerbaijan, including the assessment of gender equality in the world of work.