In management positions in Belarus today, 49% are women, and the salary of a Belarusian woman is 74.6% of the salary of a man in the same position.
How things are in this situation in the European Union and where to start solving this issue in Belarus, activists and ambassadors discussed at the “International Conference on Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Women and Men” in Minsk.
At the beginning of the conference, the head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, Andrea Victorin, said that Belarus, including in the media, misread gender equality, which is advocated in the European Union.
“I want to explain that we in the European Union mean by this what we want to achieve. It is about equal economic independence of men and women. Equal pay for work, equality in decision-making are important. We want to stop gender-based violence. It’s important not only to adopt legislation but also to fight against the systematic discrimination of women, which we see in many countries, “said Andrea Victorin.
In all official institutions of the EU, in the European Commission, in the Council of Europe, in the European Parliament – there is a specialist working on gender equality. But there are still stereotypes that are considered discrimination. For example, a man may not take maternity leave in all EU countries: employers do not let them go.
Swedish Ambassador to Belarus Christina Johanneson shared her country’s experience in this matter. For example, a year ago, the State Agency for Gender Equality was established in Sweden. But in January, the gender equality agency was abolished.
“This indicates that even in Sweden, sharp political decisions can be made,” the ambassador explains. Christina Johanneson also said that Sweden is discussing a program for training girls in technical specialties: mathematics and programming. However, there is no guarantee that employers will want to hire girls to work.
United States Chargé d’Affaires ad interim in Belarus Jennifer Moore said that US never had a woman president.
“It took the United States many years to achieve gender equality. Women have become leaders of large corporations, directors. But we have never had a woman president. But women work no less than men. We should also not forget about women who achieve high results by refusing family and children, “said Moore.
The head of the Concentration “Gender Studies”, European College of Liberal Arts in Belarus, Elena Ogorelysheva cited statistics as an example:
Belarusian woman’s salary makes up 74.6% of the man’s salary
• 181 professions are not available for women
• 49% of women are in leadership positions in the country
• In parliament, only 34.5% are women.
Gender inequality also applies to men whose life expectancy in Belarus is lower than that of women.
“Among men, the most common risk behavior that leads to mortality in the workplace, alcoholism, suicide, conviction for crimes.”
British Ambassador to Belarus Fiona Gibb said that the issue of equality of labor in England in recent years has become very relevant. This issue is discussed openly. For example, BBC women are paid less than men. And they talk about it on their airs.
“A recent report says that the number of women in senior positions in England is rapidly declining. The state plays a very important role in this issue. I look at Belarus and I think that women here themselves often allow their role in society to be more traditional. Especially concerns older women.”
The Ambassador of Sweden drew attention to the fact that in Belarus, at conferences and forums where the economic development of the country is discussed, there are no women as experts.
“It cannot be that there are no experts on these extremely important issues in the country,” said Christina Johanneson. “We should still pay attention to who we show on TV, we invite to the conferences.”