Belarusian Women Work More Than Men And This Is Why

In Belarus, women work more than men and are more economically active than their male counterparts, which is the biggest margin in the world.

The Belarusian women just can’t afford to stay at home.

Photo credits: Sergei Gapon, Getty Images

James Watkins, the reporter of OZY, has analyzed the latest country-level survey data provided by the International Labour Organization for 2015 and came to several conclusions.

The labor-force participation rate in Belarus is 86% for women, and just 79% for men.

That’s a ratio of 108 to 100, the largest in the world by a huge margin, with only two other countries squeaking above 100.

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Belarus has one of the most female-heavy populations globally but that is not why they dominate men in the labour force.

The authour of the article also refers to the country’s government statistics that shows more women have been in work than men for at least 15 years.

However, there’s a tendency of men starting to catch up with the ladies in the past couple of years.

What are the reasons?

Belarus lost a staggering 25% of its population – mostly men– in World War II.

This is the greatest proportion of casualties of any country in the world by far.

The most surprising factors named is that countries ravaged by war, genocide and other devastating mass-casualty events in the 20th century have higher proportions of working women.

Such historic events consequently lead to the situation where a disproportionate number of women have to rebuild the economy in short order, thus precipitating longer-term cultural changes.

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Another factor is the Soviet economic legacy.

“My mom worked, my grandma worked, most of my friends’ mothers and grandmothers all worked,” Tatsiana Kulakevich, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Rutgers University who grew up in Belarus said.

The country’s official unemployment rate also affects the figures. Officially it is 0.5%, however, real figures are several times higher.

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Another and probably the most evident reason of high female participation in the labor force is necessity.

Women simply could not afford be unempolyed, while an average monthly wage per person in the country is about $422.

What about feminism?

Women take home on average barely three-quarters of the pay packets of men in Belarus.

Despite the fact that 27% more women than men hold bachelor’s degrees, women are underrepresented at the executive positions.

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Besides, more women than men are employed in white-collar professions.

Another feature of the Belarusian society is that women are expected to combine functions of wage earner, houhomemaker and caregiver in the family.