In-depth

Women played very active role in restoring peace after violent ethnic clashes in the south of Kyrgyzstan in 2010.
Women were key actors in restoring peace after violent ethnic clashes in the south of Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

Making gender equality a reality is a core commitment of UNDP globally. “Gender” is no longer highlighted as a separate focus area, but became a cross-cutting theme to be integrated into all areas of our work. UNDP in Kyrgyzstan promotes gender equality in various ways in all areas of its work, with active participation of the government, civil society and local communities, including actors who have not been previously engaged in these activities.

The Kyrgyz Republic has a number of key international human rights obligations linked to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Political Rights of Women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), ILO Convention and the European Social Charter, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for Gender Equality (BPA), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and UN Security Council Resolution N 1325, 1820.

Confirmation of the country's commitment to addressing gender equality is the adoption of gender legislation and specialized national programmes. Two key laws on gender equality and protection from domestic violence were adopted in 2003. The Kyrgyz Republic also introduced gender quotas introduced to management of the Chamber of Accounts, National Bank, Supreme Court, Central and Local Election Committees, Election Code and Local Courts.

Starting from 1996 the Government implements national gender programmes. Current strategic document in gender area is the National Strategy on Gender Equality (NSGE) and its Action Plan were developed in 2011-2012 with support of UN Gender Theme Group and other donors, such as Asian Development Bank and OSCE center in Bishkek. These documents are based on the participatory “bottom up” approach and define the state gender policy, its goals, objectives, and priorities.

Despite all these efforts, many issues related to gender equality persist in Kyrgyz society. Unfair distribution of resources, patriarchal norms and values, reduced employment opportunities for women, lack of sufficient number of child-care facilities and social support institutions, and worsening of medical services are still part of the reality in the country.

As a result of these issues, experts observe increasing feminization of poverty, higher rates of maternal and child mortality as well as increasing gender based violence. Women are increasingly sidelined and excluded from decision-making (for instance, despite of gender quotas, women make up to only 22% of members of the Kyrgyz Parliament and 13.6% of local councils). Women suffered the most as result of the interethnic violence in the south of Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

UNDP helps to address these issues by applying two complementary approaches to achieving gender equality – ‘gender mainstreaming’ and ‘women's empowerment’. We strengthen partners’ capacities in fulfilling international and national gender commitments and ensuring gender mainstreaming within organizations through our programmes, policies and procedures.

Throughout the years of work on gender issues, UNDP helped to develop national strategies for gender development and promote gender mainstreaming in government institutions. We also carried out studies on burning issues such as feminization of poverty, gender expertise of public policy and legislation, public services delivery, gender and climate change, promotion of women in decision making and peace building, and elimination of gender-based violence.

Our office’s excellent in-house gender capacity was recognized globally the Gender Equality Gold Seal 2012 award, a special gender certification initiated by UNDP headquarters in 2011. The office has a special Gender Task Force led by UNDP Deputy Resident Representative which ensures corporate gender-related requirements at all levels and dimensions. The in-house capacity in this area is regularly strengthened with special attention to newcomers and increase of thematic gender expertise (e.g. gender and disaster risk management, gender and environment etc).

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