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Opinions & Interviews

27 Mar 2019

MP: Belarus has gender-neutral legislation

MP: Belarus has gender-neutral legislation
Lyudmila Makarina-Kibak. An archive photo

MINSK, 27 March (BelTA) – Belarus’ legislation is gender-neutral, which is proved by the findings of the gender impact assessment undertaken by the National Centre of Legislation and Legal Research. Gender equality was discussed at the meeting of female MPs from Belarus with representatives of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Minsk on 27 March, BelTA has learned.
 
Lyudmila Makarina-Kibak, Chairperson of the Standing Commission on Health, Physical Culture, Family and Youth Policy of the House of Representatives, spoke about the findings of the gender impact assessment undertaken by the National Centre of Legislation and Legal Research. “The findings suggest that the national legislation is mostly gender-neutral and does not contain any provisions that would constitute discrimination against women,” the MP noted. At the same time, while drafting industry-specific laws, additional measures might be introduced to ensure gender equality, the MP added.

The country is implementing its fifth national action plan to achieve gender equality. This plan aims, among other things, to introduce mechanisms to ensure gender equality at all levels of government policies. The plan also provides for conducting gender impact assessment of laws.

Tiina Kukkamaa-Bah, Chief of the Democratic Governance and Gender Unit at the OSCE ODIHR, expressed hope that Belarus and the OSCE will continue fruitful cooperation in ensuring gender equality. She pointed to the important role of female MPs in this process. During the meeting the parties discussed best practices in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, international standards. The Belarusian MPs told their European counterparts about the efforts of the Belarusian government to ensure gender equality. These efforts are based on universally recognized norms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and other international documents. At the same time, the country realizes that despite the achieved progress, it should not be complacent and should keep working towards this goal, including in cooperation with foreign experts.

Women account for about a third of members of the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic, as well as over 65% of civil servants, with more than half of them being heads or deputy heads of organizations. Laws banning women from harmful and difficult jobs were revised, with the list of such professions reduced. Belarus introduced a paternity leave allowing fathers to be away from their jobs for up to 14 days within six months after the birth of a baby.

 

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