Women’s Rights in Russia

There have been often concerns about how far Russia is falling behind in progressing women’s rights.  Last week UN experts reported on another incident where a Russian professional woman suffered further discrimination.  Svetlana Medvedeva graduated as a navigation officer in 2012, qualifying her to take control at the helm of a boat.  However after being selected to a private company for such a role she was subsequently rejected form the position.

The grounds where that the Russian authorities have listed the occupation as one not suitable for women.  She has pursued a judicial order to attempt to compel the company to establish safer working conditions which would allow her to take up the employment.   However all her appeals have been rejected as the court have reasoned that the restrictions were in place to help protect the reproductive health of women.

The case has been passed to the UN to report on and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reported that there was no scientific or other evidence provided to the committee to support the claim that including women in the role would be harmful to women’s reproductive health.  The Committee found that there was no legal basis for the decision and that Medvedeva had been unfairly blocked from taking up a position for which she had been specifically trained and educated for.

The CEDAW have called on Russia to amend their list of restricted occupations for women, and enable Ms Medvedeva to be given access to these sorts of employment positions plus compensating her for the previous discrimination.

Whether the Russian authorities will comply is another matter, they have frequently taken a rather relaxed attitude to UN backed requests.  In particular to the many restrictions and blocks on reporting through the media and press.  Most journalists now routinely operate anonymous accounts online using programs like Identity Cloaker to ensure  their safety and privacy.