March 1, 2021

Machinist of metro, truck and other professions prohibited to Russian women | Society


In Russia, women can not work as subway train drivers. Nor be ship captains. It is the law, a norm of the beginnings of the Soviet period, revised in the year 2000, which vetoes 456 professions to women. Now, the Russian Ministry of Labor is finalizing the revision of that list. The new law, which if it passes all the procedures would come into force in 2021, opens the door for the Russians to work driving the subway, be high tonnage trucks or professional paratroopers. However, instead of repealing the entire list, which was based on the fact that these jobs were considered "dangerous" for women's health, Russia will maintain almost a hundred prohibited professions; among them the one of open-pit mining or mechanics of aviation engines.

The list of 456 professions prevents women from accessing jobs in 39 industries, which represent around 4% of Russian economic activity. Although it is not unique to that country. It is shared in similar conditions by other ex-Soviet republics, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan or Uzbekistan. In Russia, professions such as that of a miner, a welder, a smith or a deck crew are reserved for men. The majority in sectors that work with chemicals, heavy machinery or complex vehicles.

There are exceptions to the law: some women who have resorted to the courts to work in their desired profession, demonstrating that employment does not pose any risk to their health. As did Svetlana Medvedeva, who prosecuted her case and went to the UN to be captain of the ship's deck. There are also others who skip the law every day, working as carpenters or plumbers, although the cases are few and most in the informal economy or with their own companies, such as WomanLabor, launched by a couple of Russians, Yulia and Nadezhda Borets , who dream of having a YouTube channel in which to teach other women to do repairs and works.

The Ministry of Labor has been trying for a couple of years to reform the standard inherited from the Soviet Labor Code of 1922, which explicitly forbade them to perform "dangerous" jobs for their reproductive health. A few months ago, Minister Maxim Topilin said that the new list of professions will guarantee fairer working conditions and will contribute to the elimination of the gender wage gap, which in Russia is 28%.


Nadezhda and Yulia Borets renovating a house on the outskirts of Moscow.



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Nadezhda and Yulia Borets renovating a house on the outskirts of Moscow.

With the new list, the Russians will be able to drive electric trains and tractors; also be automobile mechanics. However, they will not be able to participate in the work to directly extinguish the fires. And it will maintain the restriction of jobs that it considers physical, such as those of the construction of underground facilities or tunnels. Also the execution of works of smelting, welding and in blast furnaces; as well as open pit mining. Although according to the draft of the list that the newspaper has been able to see RBK, they may hold positions of managers, scientists or medical specialists in this type of facility.

Russia, with 145 million inhabitants, has a large gender gap according to the ranking of the World Economic Forum. The analysis of this organization places the country in the 75th position of 144 and it emphasizes that although in education the parity is almost total, the women have great difficulties to break the glass ceiling in the companies. In addition, female representation in politics and in decision-making positions is scarce. The latest data shows that more than 70% of the people who work as civil servants in Russia are women, although the immense majority in the lower echelons or as much means. They are only 15.8% in the Russian Parliament and only 18% in the Federation Council (the Senate). In addition, there are only two ministers. According to data of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Russia ranks 131 out of 191 in equal representation in parliamentary systems. The ranquin is led by Rwanda, Mexico is in fourth place and Spain in the 13th.

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