Women in Belarus Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Belarus

Women in Belarus
A group of Belarusian women, wearing their national costumes, while getting the bride (seated) ready for her wedding day, dated before 1841.
General Statistics
Maternal mortality (per 100,000)4 (2015)
Women in parliament33.1% (2017)
Women over 25 with secondary education87.0% (2017)
Women in labour force62% (2014)[1]
Gender Inequality Index[2]
Value0.104 (2021)
Rank29th out of 191
Global Gender Gap Index[3]
Value0.758 (2021)
Rank33rd out of 156
Svetlana Alexievich, born in Ukraine but grew up in Belarus. Won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature

The modern-day characteristics of women in Belarus evolved from the events that happened in the history of Belarus, particularly when the "concept of equal rights for women was first developed and substantiated in the late 16th century". The so-called Grand Duchy Charter of 1588 – one of the most important legal documents in Belarusian history – protected the dignity of Belarusian women under the law.[4] Women in Belarus and their contribution to Belarusian society is celebrated annually on the 8th of March, during International Women's Day.[5]


In 2020, 53.4% of the population of Belarus was female.[6] The 2020 estimated median age for Belarusian women is 43.9.[7] Most Belarusian women fall into the 25-54 age range.


The average life expectancy for Belarusian women is at around 79.6 years old.[8]

Role in society[edit]

In Belarus, gender roles still remain very traditional. Some of these roles assigned to women are deeply seated in the country's patriarchal culture. One obligation for women, usually a mother or wife, is that they must set the dinner table. It would be considered degrading for a man to perform this task. Caring for the household and the rearing of children are also traditionally delegated to them. Traditionally, caring for children under the age of 14 is often left to mothers, and the fathers often do not interfere. Men are often seen as more powerful than women because they are considered to be the breadwinners of the family, while women are tasked with the domestic work and childcare. In Belarus, many people, including women, do not view the unequal status of women as a social injustice. As a result women's rights[5] are widely seen as not important.

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko is repeatedly accused of misogynistic or sexist remarks and behavior which denigrate the dignity of women.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Despite the fact that a number women are appointed to high government positions by him (Natalya Kochanova and others), their role is often considered tokenistic.[11] In 2020, when Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya became the major opposition candidate, Lukashenko's misogynistic statements became more frequent. They were widely broadcast via the television. Simultaneously, the authorities started smear campaigns aimed on women active in politics and women partners of male activists.[11] According to Amnesty International report, politically active women were threatened with sexual violence and taking children into custody.[11] On 29 May 2020, Lukashenko claimed that woman can't become the president, because "the Constitution is not made for a woman". In June, he commented on this issue again: "Our Constitution is such that even for a man this [presidency] is a heavy burden. And if one placed it on a woman, she would collapse, poor thing".[17][11]

Women in the Workforce[edit]

Article 14 of the Labor Code of the Republic of Belarus prohibits any discrimination in labor relations, but in spite of this gender inequality is still persistent. A Belarusian woman's average salary is currently 80% of the average salary of Belarusian man, despite having legal provisions established that require equal pay for equal work. The way bonuses are distributed is what causes this discrepancy to result. It is also found to be more likely that a woman will agree to agree to a lower-paying job than a man. For certain jobs in Belarus using women's labor is actually against the law. The country has an official list of jobs that women are not allowed to partake in. Women also have a mandatory paid maternity leave for 126 days and a mandatory paid parental leave for 969 days. Jobs on the list are jobs associated with hazardous industries, increased physical activity or ones that are considered dangerous to health. Despite the gender inequality present in the work force women actually exceed the number of men employed in Belarus, as they constitute 54% of the labour market. In spite of constituting a higher percentage of the labor market, women are still less financially stable than men.[18]

Organizations for women[edit]

Feminist groups in Belarus first appeared in 1991, and then more were formed onwards. These organizations included the Union of Women in Belarus (formerly known as the Belarusian Committee of Soviet Women), the League of Women in Belarus, the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, the Women's Christian-Democratic Movement, the Belarusian feminist movement "For the Renaissance of the Fatherland", the League of Women-Electors, and the Women's Liberal Association.[5] The beginning of the 21st century brought a change in the women's movement in Belarus. The movement started to become more structured and as a result the most effective women's organizations emerged with more defined priorities. The “Hope” party which was actually established in 1994 chose to focus on the problem of women’s involvement in politics. Another organization that emerged was the Young Women’s Christian Association of Belarus and their main focus is on the issue of the white slave trade. The Belarusian Organization of Working Women primarily deals with human rights and social issues in the country. One of the most prominent women's organization to emerge was the Women’s Independent Democratic Movement. The organization promotes political and economic competence among all citizens as well as gender equality.[19]  

On 28 September 2021, during the government-led attack on NGOs (see Human rights in Belarus#Pressure on NGOs), the Supreme Court of Belarus forcibly liquidated the "Gender perspectives" NGO (Russian: Гендерные перспективы) which promoted the women rights in Belarus by withstanding gender discrimination and domestic violence. GP collaborated with the government on legal issues concerning women and hosted the national hot line for victims of domestic violence which took approximately 15,000 calls in 10 years. After the court liquidated this organization, its team claimed that the government "doesn't care about the needs of a huge number of women experiencing domestic violence or gender discrimination".[20]

Gender rights[edit]

Married women in Belarus are entitled to retain personal and private property, income, investments, and other assets earned by them.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Labor force participation rate, female (% of female population ages 15-64) (Modeled ILO estimate) | Data".
  2. ^ "Human Development Report 2021/2022" (PDF). HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORTS. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  3. ^ "Global Gender Gap Report 2021" (PDF). World Economic Forum. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  4. ^ Belarusian Women as seen Through an Era Archived 2012-12-03 at the Wayback Machine, United Nations in Belarus.
  5. ^ a b c d Belarus, everyculture.com
  6. ^ "Population, female (% of total population) - Belarus | Data". data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 2022-07-15.
  7. ^ a b "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  8. ^ "GHO | By category | Life expectancy and Healthy life expectancy - Data by country". WHO. Retrieved 2022-07-15.
  9. ^ Belarus’s female revolution: how women rallied against Lukashenko
  10. ^ In Belarus, Women Led the Protests and Shattered Stereotypes
  12. ^ Эксперт – об оппонентках Лукашенко
  13. ^ Die Welt: Слабость трех знаковых фигур Беларуси
  14. ^ Заявление: Эскалация репрессий в преддверии президентских выборов в Беларуси
  15. ^ Lukashenko: Belarus autocrat surviving protests with Soviet tactics
  16. ^ Лукашенко сравнил белорусских женщин со скотом
  17. ^ Лукашенко пояснил свои слова о том, почему женщина не может быть президентом
  18. ^ "What Are Gender Rights and Opportunities in Belarus?". Office for a Democratic Belarus. 2015-04-13. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  19. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-11. Retrieved 2019-05-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Верховный суд ликвидировал международное ОО «Гендерные перспективы»

External links[edit]