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What is Good, Bad, and What Could be Done with Gender Equality in Belarus


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Presentation by Lev Lvovskiy at Development Day 2018 – Gender Equality and Economic Development: From Research to Action. This year conference was focused on existing constraints and also highlighted initiatives that could help to create an equal society.

More about the conference and research in transition economics can be found on SITE’s website:

Published in: Economy & Finance
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What is Good, Bad, and What Could be Done with Gender Equality in Belarus

  1. 1. What is Good, Bad, and What Could be Done with Gender Equality in Belarus Lev Lvovskiy, BEROC
  2. 2. What is Good: Inheritance of the USSR • Belarus is relatively high on Gender Development Index (31st position) • 49.7% of women are in labor force • top 3 among the developed nations after Lithuania 50.6 and Latvia 50.1. Sweden 47.7 and the US 45.8 • Unadjusted Gender wage gap is moderate at 0.737 • Compared to 0.842 in Sweden, 0.722 in the US and 0.691 in Russia • Unexplained gender wage gap is very low and some times is found to be negligible
  3. 3. What is Bad • Life expectancy gap is big: 79 years for women Vs 68.6 for men • Gender-related policies in laws • Military draft • Maternity leave • Population is still largely patriarchic • National Assembly composition: 27%-32% of women • Women spend twice as much time housekeeping as men • Women spent 3 times time the men do rearing children
  4. 4. Leviathan of GI: Maternity Leave • Three years -- one of the longest paid leaves in the world • Paternity leave varies from 0 to several weeks • 95% of women take full three years • Human capital deteriorates by 30-60% depending on industry • Childcare benefit is decreased if a woman goes back to work • Equilibrium effects: lack of childcare before age 3, undeveloped institute of nannies • Speculation: this is one of the latent fertility policies
  5. 5. Patriarchic Views and Values • Fertility-boosting policies and government promote view of a woman as a stay-at-home mom (despite contradicting reality) • Interesting finding: promotion of patriarchic values from the top create discrepancy in trends of views vs real behavior • Although women are well-represented in parliament, they usually take “traditional roles” there – medicine, education, family policies
  6. 6. Women and Private Business • High numbers of female entrepreneurs (30%) • Most are in small or very small firms (10.6 employees vs 17.3 for men) • Decision to start an enterprise is highly correlated with maternity leave • On average much smaller growth rates than in men-headed firms (7.6% vs 27.1% for men) • Female entrepreneurs take 3 times less credits than male entrepreneurs • Female entrepreneurs often city “double shifts” (at work and at home) as one of the most important barriers
  7. 7. Ways to Improve • Make women and men be equal under the law • Modify maternity leave policy, divorce laws, army draft • Promote gender equality views especially given people accept some of the points more than they believe to • More research in needed on gender inequality issues, and particularly on gender inequality in business and entrepreneurship • Speculation from personal experience: when talking to government representatives it is more important to show practical economic benefits of gender policies rather than to point to the human rights