openDemocracy: A Soviet-era law banning women from more than 200 jobs has finally been overturned in Kazakhstan. But the fight for gender parity is not over
…The ban was originally established in the 1930s, when Soviet legislators argued that to “ensure the protection of maternity and women’s reproductive health”, women should be banned from hundreds of jobs. At its height in 1978, the ban consisted of 431 prohibited occupations. As of this year, 229 occupations were included in the ban.
The ban was translated into the labour codes of independent Kazakhstan – as well as that of other new states – after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, there are still 446 banned jobs for women in Russia, 456 in Kyrgyzstan, 326 in Tajikistan, and 182 in Belarus. Only in Ukraine has the ban been fully lifted, ending in 2017.
In Kazakhstan, the list of banned jobs was occasionally revised with minor changes, usually ahead of a United Nations external review. In 2019, the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) recommended that the Kazakhstani government repeal the list within two years. The deadline for the country’s report on its compliance with the recommendations was coming up in November, with CEDAW due to revise the process of the legislation in 2022.
Just in time for the CEDAW review, on 12 October 2021, Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed amendments repealing the ban…
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