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IRU welcomes Russia’s move to allow women to become professional truck and bus drivers from 2021.

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IRU welcomes Russia’s move to allow women to become professional truck and bus drivers from 2021.

The Russian Ministry of Labour and Social Protection has revised a list of professions in which the participation of women is currently banned or restricted, opening the road transport sector in the world’s largest nation to female drivers for the first time.

Currently, women in Russia are prohibited from working in 456 jobs in more than 30 different sectors. These barriers – common to many former Soviet countries – were inherited from the former system in the Soviet Union generations ago and introduced with the intention of protecting women’s health and safety.

In effect, it bans them from participating in many jobs deemed too physical, including firefighting, mining, operating certain vehicles in the railway and maritime industries, as well as driving long-haul trucks and buses of more than 14 seats. From 2021 however, these restrictions on transport professions – along with many others – will be swept away.

The move will help address disparities in pay between men and women, which is an issue in Russia as it is in many major nations. Research from the Russian government estimates that the country’s gender pay gap stands at 26%.

Following the change, the Russian road transport sector also hopes to find more recruits and increase its talent pool, ultimately boosting the Russian economy by making transport networks and supply chains more efficient. 

Across Europe, the sector is facing an acute shortage of drivers – across the continent one fifth (21%) of driver positions are currently unfilled. One of the key reasons for this shortage is that operators are struggling to attract women drivers, who make up just 2% of drivers overall.

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