Closing the GAP: UNDP results of gender equality in Belarus


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Closing the GAP: UNDP results of gender equality in Belarus

August 21, 2015

Gender equality and women’s empowerment is a crucial part of human development. The repot ‘Closing the Gap: an Overview of UNDP Results in Gender Equality in Europe and the CIS’ presents key achievements of UNDP Country Offices in gender equality.

Throughout 2014 our work on gender equality and women’s rights in Belarus focused on economic empowerment and eradication of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

Economic empowerment:

In 2014 UNDP in Belarus contributed to the economic empowerment of women by creating space for a new profession in the country such as a tax advisor. It is expected that this will help expand the income and career opportunities for the large number of women traditionally involved in financial and accounting services in Belarus.

Beyond the policy level improvements, UNDP in Belarus focused its efforts on fostering inclusive job creation and strengthening of entrepreneurship development at the local level in 33 administrative districts of Belarus (out of 118 in total in the country) through further support to agro and eco-tourism development.  In this regard, seventeen tourist destinations have been identified and their marketing strategies developed and enacted to help business to better promote their tourism products. As a result, 19 agro- and eco-estates received financial support to further generate their tourist attractiveness.  UNDP ensured that women and men equally advance from  the rendered support. Most of the supported agro- and eco-estates are family owned, of them 51,5% women (18) and 48,5 % men (17).

Prevention of sexual and gender-based violence:

In 2014 UNDP in Belarus facilitated stronger progress with the State Border Committee reform from military to law enforcement entity, which is yet to be completed, and made sure that gender focus is paid attention within this transformation process for the advancement of border management staff, vulnerable migrants and victims of trafficking in human beings. Thanks to UNDP cooperation with the IOM and UNCHR and with involvement of the Belarusian Young Cristian Women Association, a comprehensive report describing the current SGBV situation in Belarus and the international experience on SGBV prevention and response among irregular migrants was prepared. In 2015 the issue of tackling sexual and gender based violence among the vulnerable migrants and victims of trafficking in human beings in Belarus has been addressed through capacity building of NGOs in the joint efforts of UNDP,UNHCR and IOM.

In 2014 and 2015 UNDP in Belarus continued preventive work with women sex workers (FSW), including female sex workers who inject drugs (FSW PWID). In the first half of 2014 preventive interventions covered more than 2,820 FSW and almost 550 FSW PWID; in the second half of 2014 - about 3000 FSW and about 520 FSW PWID ; and in the first half of 2015 - more than 3070 FSW and more than 540 FSW PWID. Female sex workers who inject drugs were separated into a group after a survey carried out in 2011. The survey revealed that home violence is one of the reasons for engaging in sex work and drug use. Thus, the first sex contact in one third of the women surveyed took place in early adolescence (14 years) because of violence by men. Further development of these respondents took place under the influence of psychological and physical violence in some cases coming from the father or stepfather. Every fifth woman engaged in commercial sex in adolescence (13-15 years), half - under 17 years old and younger. Thus, minors get involved in the brutal sphere of sex business, essentially, as they are still children. Women are not able to cope with the problem by themselves, especially if they are drug addicts, and are vulnerable. Assistance in the framework of UNDP/Global Fund projects is provided to women in solving the problems associated with the protection of health, legal and social issues.

Document Type
Regions and Countries