The role of women in the Belarusian society constantly grows, Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic of Belarus' National Assembly Natalya Kochanova said in an interview with the Zvyazda newspaper, BelTA has learned.
Natalya Kochanova noted that the role of women in the public, economic, and political life has changed significantly. “Modern women are more ambitious and motivated, they strive to be independent, self-sufficient, and important. This helps them succeed. Women step up their presence in business: the share of female entrepreneurs in Belarus is around 32%. Women's influence in decision-making is also noticeably stronger. At present, almost 46% of leaders are women,” she pointed out. The share of women in judiciary authorities is also quite high, standing at 69%. The number of female MPs is on the rise: they accounted for 14% in the first-convocation parliament and for 35% in the parliament of the seventh convocation.
“These positive trends stem from a gradual improvement of the gender policy. The government has always paid close attention to this issue. Gender equality is seen as one of the priorities in the national strategy for sustainable social and economic development through 2030,” Natalya Kochanova said.
At the same time measures aimed at women's support are comprehensive. “On the one hand, they include removing barriers to employment, promotion, and salaries, creating additional opportunities to develop business, launching special retraining programs, and so on. On the other hand, measures are taken to support motherhood, preserve women's reproductive health, and combat domestic violence. In other words, the country tries to provide conditions for women to fulfill their potential in professional activity and family life,” Natalya Kochanova stressed. The effectiveness of these efforts is commended by international experts: Belarus ranks 29th among 153 countries in terms of gender equality, which is the best result among the CIS member states.
“However, this does not mean that all problems have been solved. There is still much to be done, first of all, to reduce the gap between men's and women's salaries. We can do even more to help promote women's entrepreneurship and self-employment,” she believes. It should be kept in mind that women work more and have less free time: after work they have domestic chores to do. It was estimated that working Belarusian women spend 26 hours 29 minutes a week on domestic chores and children, while working Belarusian men spend 14 hours and 14 minutes.
At the same time Natalya Kochanova said there is no need to adopt a law that would ensure gender equality. “The Belarusian legislation already sufficiently regulates various aspects of this topic. It is important that measures to protect women's right in economy and the social sphere were as effective as possible and were aimed at addressing concrete tasks and problems women face,” she said.