The Ministry of Labor of Belarus has once again announced a reduction in the list of professions prohibited for women

On June 3, 2022, a meeting of the National Council on Gender Policy under the Council of Ministers of the Republic was held in Minsk. The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection representatives reported on the collaborative work with the Ministry of Health to reduce by about half the list of 181 hard jobs and jobs with hazardous working conditions, where involvement of women in labor is prohibited.

Ivan Karchevsky, head of the Department of Protection and State Expertise of Working Conditions of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, proposed to exclude from the list 93 currently irrelevant types of labour and professions, where working conditions are classified as acceptable or optimal and do not pose a threat to a woman’s reproductive health. According to the press office of the Ministry of Labor, the professions of a solderer, a mercury distiller, an open-hearth furnace steelworker, an explosives worker, a worker using vibration and pneumatic tools, a blacksmith, a fireman, a lumberjack, a digger, etc., will remain banned for women.

Update: On 24 June, Decree No. 35 of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of 6 June 2022 came into force, according to which the list of hard work and work with harmful and (or) hazardous working conditions in which women are prohibited to work has been reduced to 88 types of work.

In February 2022, when presenting a state report on compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), a representative of the Ministry of Labor of the Republic of Belarus reported on the planned halving of the list of professions prohibited for women. Following the meeting, in the final recommendations of the CESCR, it was recommended to abolish all the restrictions on the women’s labour and reinforce the protection of the rights of mothers in the workplace.

The Centre for the Promotion of Women’s Rights in Belarus Her Rights, together with which ADC Memorial prepared a report ‘Discrimination against women in Belarus in the labor sphere’ for the UN CEDAW in 2016, was eliminated in autumn 2021 during the repressive campaign of the authorities against civil society organisations.