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18 Nov 2015

Shchetkina: Gender unemployment gap minimized in Belarus

MINSK, 18 November (BelTA) - Gender unemployment gap in Belarus has been minimized, Belarus’ Minister of Labor and Social Security Marianna Shchetkina said during a meeting of the National Council on Gender Policy at the Council of Ministers, BelTA has learned.

Decent job is one of the main conditions of economic viability and well-being of women and men. Women account for over 53% of the country’s population and 54.7% of the peopled employed in the economy.

For many years women's unemployment in Belarus prevailed, as in most countries of the world. "Thanks to the implementation of a range of government measures, the gender unemployment gap has been minimized: the share of women among the unemployed is less than that of men’s. As of 1 November of this year, 42,500 people were registered as unemployed with the labor, employment and social security services. Of them 35.4% were women. The duration of out-of-work period for unemployed women has decreased. Women accounted for 33.4% of the total number of the unemployed who received grants to start a business in January-September.

According to Marianna Shchetkina, the list of heavy jobs and jobs with harmful and/or dangerous conditions prohibited for women was reduced in 2014, which contributed to better employability of women. It became possible thanks to the improvement of technological processes, the implementation of new technologies, the use of new forms of work organization. Today the list includes 182 types of works. For comparison: 456 jobs are closed for women in the Russian Federation, 299 in Kazakhstan.

The development of flexible forms of employment, the possibility of working part-time, possibility to take out a social leave allow women to combine work and family today. Distance working possibilities are increasing. However, Marianna Shchetkina believes that these issues need to be addressed simultaneously with the increase in the social responsibility of businesses and employers for creating a family-friendly environment. International experience is of interest in this respect. For example, in Germany enterprises are implementing a business program called Family with a Success Factor, the aim of which is to persuade businesses that the family support policy is effective. Slovenia and Sweden have introduced a certificate of a family-oriented enterprise. The main purpose of such programs is to make improving the quality of life for families the guideline for the national economy.

Occupational segregation, a high level of concentration of women in the social sectors remain the pressing issues in the sphere of employment. Marianna Shchetkina believes that this is one of the main reasons for the gender wage gap (over 23%). These issues need to be addressed in conjunction with the issues of pay rise in the budget-financed sectors.

"Another problem is the dual employment of women,” said Marianna Shchetkina. “Despite the high level of participation of women in the economy, they continue to bear the main burden of housework, upbringing and care of children. Here we need to work harder to encourage responsible fatherhood, and equal sharing of responsibilities in the family,” the minister noted.

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