UN CEDAW meeting: Ukraine recognizes that list of professions prohibited to women violates their rights

During the meeting of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW), the head of the official Ukrainian delegation Natalia Fedorovich, chairman of the department of family, gender policy and combating human trafficking of the Ministry of Social Policy, admitted the existence of the problem of occupations prohibited to women. When answering the questions of the UN CEDAW members, participants of the official Ukrainian delegation expressed their opinion that the existing list of occupations prohibited to women “undeniably damages” women’s right for self-realization.

Earlier, at the meeting of the Committee members with the representatives of civil society, an expert from ADC “Memorial” called upon the participants to abolish the lists of occupations prohibited to women, while Aksana Filipishina, representative of the Ukrainian Ombudsman for Human Rights, emphasized that such discriminatory documents violate the rights of women.

ADC “Memorial” has consistently sought the abolition of unjustified restrictions of women’s labor rights in various post-Soviet countries. For the 66th session of the UN CEDAW ADC “Memorial” together with the Center for Social and Gender Studies (Ukraine) has prepared an alternative report on the situation of women in Ukraine, in which special attention was paid to discrimination in employment, as well as the situation of people from vulnerable groups. On the eve of the UN CEDAW meeting, authors of the report participated in a program aired by Ukrainian Hromadske Radіo and spoke about the inadmissibility of restrictions on women’s right to work.

Members of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women asked the Ukrainian delegation various questions regarding the intentions of the government to abolish the list of occupations prohibited to women and the measures to be adopted in order to prevent discrimination in employment for women.

Representatives of the Ukrainian government reported to the Committee that schools inform pupils about the different occupations “both available today and foreseen in the future”. While recognizing that the problem of gender stereotypes in society exists, which affects perception of certain occupations as exclusively male, the delegation also announced Ukraine’s intention to develop a dictionary of feminine terms for various occupations.

ADC “Memorial” expresses its hope that recommendations of the UN CEDAW will not only deal with the problem of existing lists of occupations prohibited to women, but will also call on the Ukrainian authorities to take concrete steps in order to resolve the contradictions in its labor legislation, which currently features both a formal prohibition of gender discrimination and a discriminatory ban on 458 occupations for women.