The prohibition of gender discrimination a fundamental principle of constitutional and international law. At the same time, the implementation of this principle in Russia currently faces numerous problems, some of which originate from the text of the Russian Constitution and are being supported in the caselaw of Russian Constitutional Court. This article aims to examine the impact of gender stereotypes on the implementation of the principles of equality and prohibition of gender discrimination in Russian constitutional law. The author summarizes certain features of the constitutional regulation of these principles in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. The article presents the overview of the caselaw of the Russian Constitutional Court on various issues of gender discrimination. The author reviews several key features of this caselaw. In particular, the analysis reveals a serious imbalance in the number of cases brought by women and men to the Constitutional Court, as well as significant impact of the concept of “special treatment” on the outcome of such cases dictated by nothing else as gender stereotypes. As a result, the author comes to the conclusion that not only Russian legislation, but also the approaches of the Constitutional Court on discrimination cases, remain clamped by gender stereotypes, in particular those concerning the idea that procreation is the only viable mission in a woman’s life and the mother’s primary responsibilities for child care. The study of the caselaw of the Constitutional Court in fact reveals a lack of developed constitutional instruments for protection against discrimination. The deeply rooted approaches and arguments of the Court lead to the conservation of existing restrictions on the rights of women themselves, but also affect the possibilities for exercising constitutional rights by men. In these circumstances, the caselaw of the Constitutional Court actually legitimizes patriarchal attitudes and impedes progress towards gender equality.
About the author
Olga Podoplelova – Senior lawyer, Institute for Law and Public Policy, Moscow, Russia.
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