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Belarus

Violence against women

In 2018, 6.3% of women aged between 15 and 49 had experienced violence from a partner in the last 12 months (2). However, 1 in 3 women have experienced domestic violence in the home, and there are not enough laws outlawing domestic violence and explaining what penalties should be given (3).


Political representation

Men have a majority of seats in parliament, with women holding only 30% of seats in 2021 (2). 48.2% of seats held in local government bodies are held by women (2). Despite there being five positions available, there are no female deputy prime ministers (3). Furthermore, only 1 sector minister out of 24 is a woman (3).


Gender Equality at Work

Unfortunately, Belarus loses 6.3% of its human development due to inequality- appearing in health, education, labour markets, and many other fields (1). The gender wage gap is currently 27% (1). Only 3% of this gender wage gap can be explained because of differences in work between men and women, such as a higher number of men in mining and manufacturing (3). Because of this, women are more likely to be employed in the public sector or jobs where the wages are lower (3). Many management positions go to women- 49.9% hold management positions (2). This is broken down into women having roles in 28.3% of micro companies, 19.4% of small enterprises and 18.9% of medium enterprises (1). The pandemic had a negative impact on female entrepreneurs, with 64% saying that it had a negative effect on their business (1). There is a disparity between genders on time spent on unpaid domestic work, with women aged 10+ spending 19.2% of their time, compared to only 9.5% for men (2). 3.2% of women and 5.1% of men are unemployed, and 0.1% of men and women are employed but living in poverty. Fortunately, 100% of men and women who are eligible for a pension are receiving it (2). Women are 2.5 times less likely to be given a managerial position than men, and they only occupy 23% of senior and managerial academic positions (3). Men retire later than women, at the age of 60 compared to the age of 55 for women (3).


Health

The life expectancy is higher for women than it is for men, at 79.6 for women and 69.7 for men (1). Adolescent maternal rates are low- 11.7 women per 1000 aged between 15 and 19 became mothers before they reached adulthood in 2018 (2). Only 5% of women aged between 20 and 24 were married before they turned 18 (2). There are only 2 maternal deaths per 100,000 births (2). In 2012, 73% of women of reproductive age had their family planning needs met (2).


Education

Reading and writing levels are quite balanced between the genders, with 99.8% of women able to read and write compared to 99.7% of men (2). 1.4% of girls are out of school compared to 0.2% of boys (2). However, there are disparities between the subjects studied by both genders. 68% of people enrolled in vocational education are men, whilst 80% of students studying social protection, catering and social sciences at university are women (3). 80.3% of students studying teaching at university were women, and 71.8% of students studying engineering were men (3).


Current Law and Policy

Belarus has made some commitments with regard to combatting domestic violence.[4] However, greater work concerning implementation is needed. Under both the current National Plan for Gender Equality and the Law on Crime Prevention, Belarus will implement concrete measures to address and prevent domestic violence and develop a new law to counter domestic violence. During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, Belarus launched a nationwide public awareness and educational campaign ‘A House Without Violence’ aimed at preventing domestic violence. The first stage of this campaign involved promoting the recently launched toll-free hotline for victims of domestic violence. The government of Belarus has committed itself to developing a comprehensive national response system to gender violence, which will include an increased number of crisis rooms, improved medical, social and legal services for survivors and measures to combat aggressive male behaviour.

This year, the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Labour and Social Protection, and Healthcare, along with other governmental institutions and NGOs launched their annual campaign ‘A Home Without Violence’ online. In some regions in Belarus, due to COVID-19, regular visits by local police to family homes in which violence had been reported were substituted with calls. Organisations that provide legal representation to women have seen an increase in calls related to property rights during the pandemic.[5]

Public expenditure - There is a dedicated duty police officer in each police station who is required to devote a percentage of his time to this work – a policeman carrying out this work in Barysau told Amnesty International representatives that he devotes about 30% of his time to work on domestic crime.[6]


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Sources


[4] UN Women, (3).

[5] HRW, (111).

[6] Refworld, (138), Section 7.


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