“The right to work has no gender” – side event of ADC Memorial

On September 20th, 2017, you are invited to join a discussion on employment discrimination against women in a number of professions and the need to cancel “lists of professions and occupations harmful and dangerous to women.” This discussion will take place from 13:15 to 14:45 in Meeting Room 2 as part of the Human Rights Dimension Implementation Meeting of the ODIHR OSCE.

Speakers: Svetlana Voitsekhovskaya, People’s Deputy of Ukraine, co-chairman of the Inter-Fractional Association “Equal Opportunities” in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine; Evgenia Markova, a truck driver seeking to cancel the ban on women becoming truck drivers;; human rights experts from countries where women’s labor rights are violated; Tatiana Chistova, a filmmaker who will present video materials on the issue.

Eighty-five years have passed since Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic, proved that men and women are “equal in jobs requiring intelligence, coordination, speed, coolness and willpower.”

Nevertheless, women still face bans in a number of professions requiring the ability “to maintain a high level of attention and concentration and the ability to quickly react” (according to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in its ruling in the case of Klevets). These bans are also connected with entrenched stereotypes regarding women, in accordance with which these professions would pose a threat to a woman’s supposed “reproductive function”: “Realization of the principal of legal equality cannot be achieved without consideration for a woman’s generally recognized social role in reproduction” (Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation).

Hundreds of professions and occupations are banned for women in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women stated that this approach “reflects persistent stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society that have the effect of perpetuating traditional roles for women as mothers and wives and undermining women’s social status and their educational and career prospects.” The Committee also stated that the “harm and danger” of these jobs had not been proven and that this list “does nothing to promote the employment of women in these professions and is based on discriminatory stereotypes” (from the UN CERD decision in the case of Svetlana Medvedeva).

ADC “Memorial” is running the campaign all-jobs4all-women to achieve the cancellation of discriminatory bans in Eastern European and Central Asian countries.