WOMEN’S DAY 8 MARCH in Belarus

On 8 March, Belarus celebrates an international women’s day. Set by the United Nations as the Day for Women's Rights and International Peace, 8 March is a national and a truly warm holiday in Belarus smothered with kisses, presents and flowers for the beloved women.

Действие настоящего Указа не распространяется на иностранных граждан и лиц без гражданства, временно пребывающих и временно проживающих в Республике Беларусь.

Respect for women and their high social status are embedded in Belarusian culture. The World Economic Forum rates Belarus 23rd among 128 nations by gender equality bearing out that women’s rights and empowerment are essential principles of the governmental policies and strategies. In Belarus, there’re more women than men and women’s bid for career and success is increasingly notable. Statistics reveal that women in Belarus make up over a half of all employed and constitute more university graduates than men. They tend to acquire stronger positions in decision-making and management. There’re now more women in Parliament than ever with over 30 per cent of all MPs in national Parliament and over 45 per cent in local Parliaments. However, only one woman is a Minister. But there’re many more women a bit down on career level with 14 Deputy Ministers, over 17 per cent of all directors of central governmental agencies and over 65 per cent of all public servants. Moreover, Belarus has a woman on a very high First Deputy of the President’s Administration post ? somewhat close to the First Vice Prime Minister post ? and two women Ambassadors ? in Hungary and the Netherlands. National judiciary sees a large number of women involved too, with some 50 per cent of all judges and over 60 per cent of all advocates.

Women civil sector includes 20 gender-focused NGOs. But fair enough, women’s plight isn’t bright and shining. There’s still a disproportion in both employment structure, for instance, with more women in health care and teaching than in business, and unemployment structure with continuously more jobless women than men. Ranked 16 by maternity care in the world, Belarus invests huge efforts to encourage stronger reproductive heath. Recently Belarus has notched up the birth rate increase against a downfall for years in a row. At the same time, child mortality luckily went down putting Belarus ahead of all post-Soviet nations over this woeful statistics. Government’s support for mothers and families in Belarus is well remarkable featuring a set of benefits and preferences. Just to mention a maternity leave of three consecutive years with a guarantee from an employer to hire a woman back. Interestingly, there’s a special Mother Order in Belarus ? a prestigious public award, with financial support ? annually bestowed in Belarus at the highest political level to women with five or more children. In 2008, 32 women were lucky to get the award. Internationally, gender equality and empowerment of women are not just the Belarusian commitments but a challenge for real actions. A leader in encouraging stronger global actions against human trafficking, Belarus has been instrumental in raising the world’s attention to the need for a comprehensive UN action plan. A number of UN resolutions, international conferences and events ? all on human trafficking and many hearing a call for a UN action plan, are results of the pro-active role of Belarus in this area. 2009 may see Belarus joining the UN ‘Say NO to Violence against Women’ campaign advocated by a Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman. That will set yet another strong pledge of Belarus to a global effort on ending violence against women and promoting their rights.

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