According to Belarusian law, driving trucks is too difficult for women. Is this going to change?

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Artur Lysionok

Artur Lysionok

According to Belarusian law, driving trucks is too difficult for women. Is this going to change?

The employment of women as truck drivers is one of several ways of combating the shortage of truck drivers in the European Union. In Belarus, however, this profession is still on the list of professions banned from women. Discrimination? No, it’s for the sake of their health. According to the Belarusian Labour Code, a woman cannot drive a truck because it is too difficult for her. At least that’s what it’s been like up until now.

The Belarusian Labour Code prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of gender, but it also contains a list of as many as 181 professions that women cannot pursue. Among them are such professions as a lumberjack, blacksmith, carpenter, diver, a butcher of cattle, and miner. 

The list was adopted in order to provide specific care and protection for women. At least that’s how it used to be. However, the professions are changing and, although today the ban on the professions of leather sorter or chemical and aerospace worker is somewhat understandable, it is absurd to blacklist professions such as the driver of a tractor, an international bus or a truck.

Unrealistic law in Belarus

Officially in Belarus, as in Russia, women cannot work as international truck drivers, because a trucker has to be able not only to repair a vehicle but also to perform complex manoeuvres with multi-tonne vehicles. This is regulated by the resolution of the Council of Ministers of 26 May 2000. The law also takes into account the fact that the driver is responsible not only for himself but also for other traffic participants. Therefore, this profession is inappropriate for women, because it involves a lot of effort and stress

The Belarusian law is quite complicated in this respect. Despite the ban, acquiring the right to drive a truck is perfectly legal and not subject to any restrictions. What is more, in some cases a woman can drive a truck, but only if she has a long enough seniority. Yeah, in driving trucks that she can’t officially drive…

Lack of drivers in Belarus

The Belarusian transport sector is also facing a shortage of professional drivers. Currently, the shortage is estimated at several thousand people. For this reason, Belarusian carriers are taking various steps to reduce their staff shortages. Hence the idea of Minsk transport company Janstrong to recruit women as drivers as well. 

Of course, by law. The company came up with the idea of certifying the workplace of a truck driver. The procedure took six months but was successful – the committee classified the place of work of an international truck driver in the carrier’s vehicles (Mercedes Actros) in class 2. This means that both men and women can now work in such trucks.

A casting with a dark vision of the profession

The first woman “legally” employed as an international truck driver was 26-year-old Aleksandra Chursan. The girl completed her internship and already carries out international routes on her own. Dmitry Voronts, the company’s director, liked Aleksandra so much that he decided to hire even more women. To this end, the company organised a casting, which was attended by nine women. 

The lack of truck drivers in Belarus is catastrophic, but there are many women willing to work in this profession. So why not take advantage of this opportunity? I’ve always wanted to hire women as drivers in the company. I don’t think they’re doing any worse than men,” explained Dmitry Vorontsov on

The entrepreneur did not hide what to expect in this job. From the very beginning, he explained to the group how the work in the cab really looks like.

You are undoubtedly very brave women, but do not think that the work of a truck driver is as romantic as in the movies. You have long queues waiting for you at the borders, often with a lack of normal conditions. You will have to work in the rain, in the sun, with sudden temperature changes,” Dmitri Vorontsov depicted the work to the candidates. “There is a risk of meeting thieves who drain fuel, cut tarpaulins and steal cargo. You will surely be faced with peculiar comments and treatment from your colleagues. In order to endure all this, you will need infinite patience,” added the carrier.

Despite this dark vision, none of the candidates for a job at Janstrong resigned. No wonder, they all already had C+E licences and all the necessary permits.

Women can save European transport

According to the European Economic and Social Committee, attracting more women to the transport sector is essential to make it more sustainable and user-friendly, while at the same time addressing, inter alia, workforce shortages. This is confirmed by the IRU survey, according to which 79% of drivers believe that one of the main reasons for the lack of drivers is the difficulty in attracting women into the profession. No wonder, in the EU barely 2% of women work in this profession (in Poland, as reported by TransJobs, the figure is 1.44%). 

In order to encourage women to work in transport, the European Commission is planning a series of actions to support transnational projects to combat stereotypes and segregation in education and training and in the labour market. In order to eliminate gender segregation, initiatives have also been set up for the regular exchange of practices between companies.


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Вчера в транспортном отделе компании «Янстронг» состоялась официальная встреча с девушками, которые претендуют на должность водителя-международника! ⠀ На встрече директор компании Дмитрий Воронцов поделился всеми тонкостями, позитивными и негативными моментами, с которыми сталкиваются женщины, работающие в сфере международных перевозок, а также рассказал о процессе аккредитации рабочего места (седельного тягача Mercedes-Benz Actros) для Александры Хурсан и получении от Министерства труда и социальной защиты официального разрешения о найме женщин на должность «водитель-международник» (ранее она была внесена в перечень работ с повышенной опасностью, выполняемых по наряду-допуску). ⠀ Благодарим каждую участницу за искренний интерес к такой нелегкой профессии, желание изменить свою жизнь и реализовать себя в сфере международных перевозок! ⠀ А более подробно узнать о том, как прошло собрание, Вы можете на портале TUT.BY (ссылка в шапке профиля).

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Photo: Trans.INFO

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