Shchetkina: Dramatic progress towards gender equality in Belarus
MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus has made dramatic progress in gender relations, Belarus' Labor and Social Security Minister Marianna Shchetkina said during a session of the National Council on Gender Policy under the Council of Ministers on 18 November, BelTA has learned.
“Women empowerment and gender equity have been declared one of the main development goals in the 21st century. Equality implies that all individuals should be given equal opportunities for developing their full potential. The differences between the status of men and women in society should be reduced to a minimum. Every country chooses its own path towards gender equality keeping in mind its level of social and economic development. Over the recent years, Belarus has made impressive progress in gender relations. That was possible due to the well-planned gender policy and the steady implementation of the national action plans aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for men and women,” Marianna Shchetkina stressed.
The implementation of the fourth program document for 2011-2015 is nearing completion. The document is based on the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. “We have made a considerable leap forward in respect of equal rights and opportunities, both domestically and internationally. Belarus is among 16 countries in which the female Human Development Index is higher or equal to the male HDI. Our country ranks 28th on the list of 187 countries in terms of the Gender Inequality Index,” Marianna Shchetkina added.
Almost all the activities envisaged in the national action plan have been carried out. However, it is more important to ensure that these activities have a lasting effect and produce a positive change in the society's perception of gender issues. Marianna Shchetkina thanked members of the National Council on Gender Policy and all the agencies involved for cooperation, including the Belarusian Statistics Committee, the Health Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the National Center for Legislation and Legal Research, and non-governmental organizations. A number of important projects and studies conducted in Belarus were funded by UNICEF and UNFPA.
The session of the National Council on Gender Policy discussed the progress in the implementation of gender policy in the Republic of Belarus. It was attended by members of the permanent commission of the Council of the Republic for education, science, culture and social development and members of the House of Representatives.