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Women in the workplace: Which jobs are not for women in Ukraine?

Author : Iryna Sampan

Ukrainian women are forbidden to work at approximately 500 jobs
10:00, 11 December 2017

Read the original text at 112.ua.

Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

Ukraine. We are soon entering new 2018 year. A woman in Ukraine has fewer rights than a man. Respectively, a woman has fewer opportunities than a man. A woman earns less money than a man. Women are underrepresented in government and politics, in business, as well in the agricultural sector, not to mention metallurgy. Women are underrepresented in the army, and especially in higher officer positions. In discussions about gender equality and discrimination against women in Ukraine, people because limited knowledge and information on this topic reduce everything to "oh, but who restricts you", "yes, women can occupy any profession", "this is the harmful influence of feminists who destroy established traditions" and so on.

In European country Ukraine, we have an order of the Ministry of Health from 1993 №256, called the Order "On approval of the List of difficult professions and professions with harmful and dangerous working conditions, which prohibit the employment of women." There are about 500 professions in different spheres, where women are not allowed to be employed.

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For example, a woman cannot officially be a locomotive typist and even an assistant to a machinist, she has no right to operate a motorized electric train or a diesel train. We are not even talking about the river transport. A woman will never officially be in charge of a feller or a slaughterhouse. A woman is forbidden to be "fish cutter engaged in cutting heads of redfish." Does this mean that women can cut off regular fish heard? And it is not a joke. This does not mean that there are no women working in these spheres, but all of them work informally and occupy legally "authorized" posts, for example, assistant of an assistant, secretary or cleaning woman, and many others. Accordingly, they receive a lower salary. Therefore, their pension is correspondingly less than they really deserve.

Women cannot participate in works related to the direct extinguishing of fires, work as parachutists-firemen or divers.

A larger list of prohibited occupations for women is associated with working with lead, drilling wells, oil, and gas production. "It is dangerous for gentle and weak women," you will say, "it is harmful to their health." You can still add "they still have to give birth." But there is one "no" and this is the current answer of the Ministry of Health regarding who came up with the idea that these professions are harmful to women.

"The professions listed in the list are both harmful to men and women. But as of today in Ukraine, there were no medical studies conducted that would confirm how performing those jobs would have a different influence on women and men," said deputy head of the Ministry of Health in response to the request of 112.ua.

In June 2017, people's deputy Iryna Suslova stated that the Ministry of Health was ready to cancel the order No. 256. She also added that the relevant order of the Ministry of Health was submitted for public discussion.

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According to the Ministry of Health, a new draft order (which would abolish Order No. 256) was agreed with reservations by the State Service of Ukraine for Labor and sent for registration to the Ministry of Justice. "The warnings of the State Labor Service concerned the work of women in underground works, namely: the list of such works will be ineffective from the moment of denunciation of the Convention on the employment of women in underground work in mines of N45-type, adopted by the International Labor Organization," the Ministry added.

This convention says that "no female person of any age can be employed in underground mining jobs."

Ukraine joined the main international commitments on gender equality, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1980) and its Optional Protocol, the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action (1995), established by the State Program for Equal Rights and opportunities for men and women (until 2016), in the sphere of security and defense, the National Plan of Action "Women, Peace and Security" (2016) is being implemented as an annex to Security Council Resolution 1325.

And at the same time, there is still a phenomenon when women try to prove that they are not able to perform a particular job when the labor market in the country has a gender segregation.

According to the data published on November 29 at "Women in Business" forum, supported of the Embassy of Finland in Kyiv, that two-thirds of the world's population who cannot read and write are women. However, 99.8% of women in Ukraine are educated.

Women that take decision-making positions: 48% - in Poland, 24% - all over the world, 18.8% - in Ukraine. The share of women in the parliaments: 43% - Finland (one of the leaders), 12% - Ukraine.

If we talk about business, then the majority of women in Ukraine are employed in light industry, least of all in the agricultural sector and in heavy industry. And not because they find it difficult to do this, but because no one allows them in these industries for decades, including the family and the state with its laws.

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27% of women, who work an hour more than men, earn less. The average salary of women in the country is 231 USD, men - 288 USD per month. The average working day of a woman lasts 8 hours 39 minutes, men - 7 hours and 48 minutes. After coming back from work, a woman also has to deal with household, which takes an average of 5 hours, and her husband's "work at home" is 1 hour 30 minutes.

This year, 2,400 women were accepted into contract Ukrainian army service. During 2014-2017, more than 6 thousand women directly participated in Donbas war, 107 women-participants of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) were awarded state awards, including three posthumously. At present, 55,629 women are serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and 24,298 of them are servicewomen.

Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

However, not all military schools can accept girls, in particular, military lyceums. Clarification: military lyceums and lyceums with increased military physical training may be subordinated to a) the Ministry of Defense; b) the Ministry of Education; c) local authorities.

In the military lyceums, which are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Education, girls are prohibited from entering! But girls can study in the lyceums with increased military and physical training, which are subordinated to the regional councils. For example, Volyn lyceum with enhanced military and physical training told that it recruited both girls and boys, competitive selection for all is equal, standards are also the same for both sexes. And it really works. Why isn’t it possible for military lyceums under the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Defense? Because there is a resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers from 1999, which does not allow a female to study in such institutions.

There are two military lyceums, which work under control of the Ministry of Defense - the Kyiv Lyceum named after Ivan Bohun and the Naval Lyceum in Odessa. And only boys can study there.

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The boy is provided with free accommodation and maintenance from the funds of the Ministry of Defense, he is treated in a military hospital, he can use material and technical base, lyceum students are transported free of charge on the lyceum's vehicles throughout the city and throughout Ukraine (during excursions to military units and higher military educational establishments of the Ministry of Defense), they are provided with a form and food. Financing of military lyceums subordinated to the Ministry of Defense is not carried out for the academic year, but for the budget period.

In June last year, the Ministry of Defense issued the Order No. 292 and opened up women to contract servicemen access to about a hundred posts of rank and file sergeants and sergeants. The stories of how women fought in the front line since 2014 under "peaceful" posts could be repeatedly heard. Now they will have experience, for example, "machine gunner", "driver-mechanic", "gunner and operator of a combat vehicle", "range-finder", "deputy reconnaissance commander", "shooter-sniper" and many others. In addition to the landing troops of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

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However, a huge number of posts in the army are not available to women yet. According to the official response of the Defense Ministry, these are:

- work related to the use of explosive and poisonous substances, diving;

- work related to the direct extinguishing of fires; all posts on submarines and surface ships (except for posts of medical and moral and psychological support);

- some posts in special purpose units.

Is it about women’s health protection or just a desire not to share available positions and jobs?

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December 5, 2017, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the bill No. 6109, which is designed to create equal conditions and opportunities for the service of women and men in the Armed Forces and other military formations. The bill abolishes a number of discriminatory provisions, in particular, on the conclusion of a contract for military service, dismissal of the reserve, the scope of responsibility, the basis for military fees.

What has actually changed? Previously, a contract for military service could be concluded by a woman aged 18 to 40 years. For men, this restriction did not exist. Likewise, women are enrolled in the reserve of the second level (men are enlisted in the military reserve of the first category if they received a military registration specialty) with the maximum age of 50 years to stay in the reserve. And they are not considered a military rank, unlike men.

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As stated in the explanatory note to the bill, "the maximum age of retention for men is 65 (for higher officers). So, men can go on military service for 15 years longer than women, which significantly limits the right of women liable for military service in the possibility of obtaining the following military ranks (Article 31 of the Law of Ukraine "On military duty and military service" allows the appropriation of the following military ranks during the stay in reserve). The Law of Ukraine "On the provision of pensions for individuals, and some other persons" determines that the military rank is taken into account when calculating a pension, thus, the women liable for military service have a potentially low pension."

Let us see how it works in Europe and the USA? For example, in 2015, the US Department of Defense has made all the military posts available for women. In 2000, Israel allowed women to serve in any military post, and in Norway, a similar law was adopted back in 1985.

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In this article, we talked about bans and restrictions, which are legally fixed by the Ukrainian legislation; professions that are available to some categories of people and closed to others. It turns out that our state "worries" about health and life of ones, and does not care about the others. When the list of prohibited professions is abolished, this does not mean that all women will immediately become divers. In fact, this means that: a) women will have same opportunities to become a diver, as men; b) women who illegally work as divers will be able to do this officially, receive corresponding salaries and official work experience; c) Ukraine will prove that it is the country of equal rights and opportunities, but not a patriarchal, stereotyped, and closed society.

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