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Opinions & Interviews

21 Jun 2016

Shchetkina: Belarus makes great progress towards gender equality

Shchetkina: Belarus makes great progress towards gender equality

MINSK, 21 June (BelTA) - In recent years, Belarus has made considerable progress to promote gender relations, Chairperson of the National Council on Gender Policy at the Council of Ministers, Minister of labor and social Security, Marianna Shchetkina said, BelTA has learnt.

According to Marianna Shchetkina, it became possible thanks to the gender planning policy, including the consistent implementation of the national action plans to ensure gender equality.

Belarus completed the fourth policy document for 2011-2015 which was based on the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. “I can say with confidence that we have significantly advanced in matters of ensuring equal rights and opportunities, both domestically and on the international stage. Belarus is among the 16 countries in the world where Women's Human Development Index is on par or higher than that for men. Our country is 28th on the Gender Equality Index among 187 countries in the world,” Marianna Shchetkina said.

She noted that the national plan was important. But more important are its long-term effect and positive impact on changing the perceptions that the society has on equality. “The problem of equality must be understood in the context of the overall social and economic problems, not as a problem of women. We have no problems. We are just for opportunities,” Marianna Shchetkina said.

The education level among Belarusian women is high. Women account for 71% of civil servants and make up 55% of the supreme legislative, executive and judicial personnel. According to Marianna Shchetkina, still more attention should be paid to achieving economic equality, overcoming professional segregation and difference in the salary size, as well as, to enhancing the social status of women.

Minsk is playing host to the international forum of women leaders on 21-22 June. The event has gathered more than 100 participants from different spheres – members of parliaments, civil servants, academics, journalists, and civil society representatives from the OSCE region, as well as representatives of international organizations. The event will cover a wide range of issues, from new approaches to unleashing and mobilizing the potential of female leadership to the role of men as allies in achieving gender equality.

“The forum has gathered a big number of talented and outstanding women who want to make this world a better place. I am confident that direct interaction, an exchange of experience and best practices will help us understand each other better, compare areas of activity in promoting and securing equal rights and opportunities for men and women,” Marianna Shchetkina said.

The forum is organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in cooperation with the Belarusian State University, the Council of Europe (CoE) Information Point in Minsk, the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Belarus, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Belarus, and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. The event is taking place with the support of the Belarusian Labor and Social Security Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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