The 8th of March is the International Day of struggle for women’s rights and it is dedicated to women’s achievements in political, economic and social spheres of life. At present in Armenia this holiday has lost its true meaning and became just the Day of all women, when men make gifts and buy flowers for their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. And unfortunately it has happened not because there is no need to remember about women’s struggle for equality. It's quite the other way around, Armenian ruling elite prefer to turn a blind eye to the dictates of time and social equality as a prerequisite of democracy and progress. This is very much evident in women’s working life. One of the vivid evidences of this is the existence of a list of prohibited professions, which women are not allowed to do.
The law (The Government Decision N 520 of November 9, 1994) covers underage persons, persons with disabilities, pregnant women and women of reproductive age. This last category effectively put a prohibition on all the women in Armenia, because who would learn a new profession after their “reproductive age” comes to the end? And this list takes in over 400 positions, which is pretty impressive. Carpenter, bulldozer driver, train driver, professional divers, bus driver - all those jobs are reserved for Armenian men.
The law itself is a translation from the similar Russian law, and not very accurate translation full of semantic and grammatical errors. The most ridiculous fact is that Armenian lawmakers not only didn’t adapted the list for Armenia, they didn’t even put the list in Armenian alphabetical order, it is now exists in Armenian language, but the professions are listed in Russian alphabetical order. Therefore, one of the arguments we put forward in favor of abolition of this list and this approach, is that this law isn’t based on any local research, social need or factual data. It is just a translation of a law of a completely different state.
Armenian constitution guarantees equal labor rights for men and women. We strongly believe that with a view to the full exercise of labor rights, the Government must revoke the list of professions prohibited to women and guarantee that women have an equal opportunity of being accepted for certain specializations at institutes of higher education. The protection of motherhood should not cause women additional vulnerability when applying for a job, choosing a profession, or advancing in their careers. Women must have the same opportunities as men in all areas.
To tackle this issue, ADC Memorial launches a new campaign aiming to make all jobs accessible for all women without any restrictions stipulated by the law and the lists of restricted professions. The Civil Society Institute is proud to be a part of this campaign.
For more information about the activity of the CSI in this field follow the link: ADC Memorial and the Civil Society Institute Welcome CEDAW’s List of Questions for Armenia
Source ADC "Memorial"