Thursday 27 February 2020 | 06:44

Tatsiana Protska: One hundred years of the International Women’s Day – equal rights without equality

17.03.2017  |  Society   |  Piotr Kuchta,  EuroBelarus
Tatsiana Protska: One hundred years of the International Women’s Day – equal rights without equality

Instead of equal, women in Belarus became dependent on the state, they are more concerned with how to survive rather than gender issues, believes Tatsiana Protska, historian, human rights activist.

"Although the Sovietness of the of November 7 is clear and undeniable, March 8 is controversial," - expleined Tatsiana Protska, historian, human rights activist, organizer and the first chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee in her interview with the "EuroBelarus" Information Service. - The fact is that we have already forgotten the history of this holiday. At the beginning of the 20th century capitalist countries faced the problem of gender equality, and above all, political equality. Women were already allowed to work, but they couldn’t use their political rights. But why March the 8th? In 1917 on March 8 a major anti-monarchist protest in Petragrad took place, and it was the first time many working women joined it. In 1921, at the 2nd Communist Women's Conference, it was decided to celebrate the event of 1917 and establish an International Women's Day."

Tatsiana Protska reminds that the content of the holiday in Belarus has changed: "March 8 is no longer a revolutionary holiday, and our society is not concerned with any gender issues much. Rather we see sexual overtones here. As men sometimes say, "let women have a holiday at least once a year."

"There are two concepts: equal rights and equality. The situation with equal rights is better than with equality: despite the odious statements of Lydzia Yermoshina about the borsch and women’s role, political equality still exists in Belarus. With certain reservations there are also social and economic equality, - argued Tatsiana Protska. - But there is no equality. It is known, for example, that employers are not very willing to hire women during the crisis. It would seem that political equality must entail the emergence of true gender equality. But in Belarus everything is different. "

According to Tatsiana Protska, there are two kinds of civil activity of Belarusian women: "First one is stimulated and encouraged by the state, and the second one does not receive approval from the authorities. State-approved activities involve a lot of women, for example, election commissions comprised of almost women only, and social women's organizations." "This is the evidence of the dependence of women on the state, which is the very same Soviet legacy. If one hundred years ago in capitalist society a woman was attached to her husband, the Soviet state took a woman and tied it up economically. For example, what we see today is the Belarusian state benefits to mothers with several children: women receive benefits sometimes more substantial than the salary of their husbands. What is the day of the Belarusian woman? She goes to work by 8 o'clock, works 5, 6, sometimes 9 hours, spends time on the travelling home, if she has a child, she makes time to pick them up from the kindergarden or school. Next is cooking for whole family as our people do not eat out, it is traditionally the woman who cooks. At the weekend there are cleaning, laundry etc. There is no way we can speak of any equality under these conditions. And at the same there is the dependence on the state - if one member of the family loses their job, then the income of the other one will not be enough for whole family to get by. In general, being a woman in Belarus is not particularly joyful," - concluded Tatsiana Protska.

Other news section «Society»

“It is our big joint work”
“It is our big joint work”
It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The Forum was devoted not so much to the outputs as to the challenges and prospects after the creation and signing of local agendas.
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
In Stoubcy, they talked about universal design and conducted pilot monitoring of two urban sites accessibility.
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
"Specificity is different, but the priority is general." In Valożyn, a local strategy for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
The campaign "Agenda 50" was summed up in Ščučyn, and a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed there.
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
The regional center has become the second city in Belarus where the local plan for the implementation of the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
Representatives of the campaign “Agenda 50” from five pilot cities discussed achievements in creating local agendas for implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
It is noteworthy that out of the five pilot cities, Stoubcy was the last to join the campaign “Agenda 50”, but the first one to complete the preparation of the local agenda.
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
On May 28, the city hosted a presentation of the results of the project "Equal to Equal" which was dedicated to monitoring the barrier-free environment in the city.
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
In Babruysk, wheelchair users are fighting discrimination.
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
What results has the campaign "Agenda 50" given, what helps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the regions?
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
Experts in Valožyn have determined that the quality of people’s life depends on their awareness.
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
On March 3, members of the campaign "Agenda 50" from different Belarusian cities met in Minsk. The campaign is aimed at the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
There are being implemented three projects under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities campaign in the city of Babruysk.
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
In Ščučyn, people with disabilities learned to be leaders and to advocate their interests.
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
In Stolin, social organizations and local authorities are implementing a project aimed at independent living of persons with disabilities, and creating local agenda for the district.
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Will creation of local agendas be an effective tool in ensuring rights of persons with disabilities in Belarus, just as it was in Poland?
“It is impossible to talk about persons with disabilities separately from the rest of the country”
“It is impossible to talk about persons with disabilities separately from the rest of the country”
The understanding that all people have equal rights has been the basis for social changes, including those related to disability issues, in Poland.
Andrei Yahorau: Everything depends on people in the regions
Andrei Yahorau: Everything depends on people in the regions
A social project "Equal to Equal" has been launched in Stolin district under the campaign "Agenda 50".
Gintautas Mažeikis: The relation of political field and arena in the framework of information war

In his report, philosopher Gintautas Mažeikis discusses several concepts that have been a part of the European social and philosophical thought for quite a time.

“It is our big joint work”

It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.

Shhh! Belarus Wants You to Think It’s Turning Over a New Leaf

Minsk’s muddled media clampdown could jeopardize warming of relations with the West.

Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool

To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.