National Women's Solidarity Kurultai: Kyrgyzstan is on its way to women empowerment
July 7, 2023
07.07.2023 / Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – Today, Bishkek hosted the National Women's Solidarity Kurultai that was initiated by women activists with the support of the Council for the rights of women, children and gender equality under the Toraga of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Forum of Women Deputies. Women leaders from all regions gathered to discuss the socio-economic and socio-political role of the women's movement in the country and to develop an action plan for further promotion of women’s leadership in Kyrgyzstan.
Welcoming the participants of the event, the deputy Minister of labour, social security and migration Zhanyl Alybayeva noted the importance of strengthening women's solidarity at the national and regional levels: “The National Women's Kurultai is held to unite women leaders, raise the problems associated with them in society, strengthen women's cooperation and increase the overall political activity of women in Kyrgyzstan."
Currently, Kyrgyzstan ranked 84th (out of 146) on the Global Gender Gap Index for 2023, highlighting the need for continued efforts towards women's empowerment and leadership. Gender inequality is also evident in the labour market. Women in Kyrgyzstan continue to face a gender pay gap, with women earning approximately 63% of what men earn for similar work. This pay disparity undermines women's economic empowerment and hinders their ability to fully participate in and contribute to the country's development.
UNDP Resident Representative in Kyrgyzstan Louise Chamberlain emphasized that the National Women's Kurultai has become an open platform for the exchange of information between women leaders of the country and expressed hope for the sustainability and success of the initiatives promoted today: «Women have diverse interests and needs, they come from different backgrounds and diverse linguistic and ethnic groups, and they have different aspirations and interests. This process unveils the spirit and voices of women in Kyrgyzstan that may not otherwise be heard, and that this would generate an indigenous agenda that can unite women and drive this country forward.»
Rural women in Kyrgyzstan face additional barriers to leadership and empowerment. Limited access to resources, including education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, hinders their participation in decision-making processes and their ability to exercise leadership roles within their communities.
That is why one of the key topics of today's discussions was the results of regional kurultais, as well as the development of a plan for their implementation. Reports were made on such topics as "Women's Health", "Women's Political Activism", "Prevention of Violence", "Safety", etc. At the end of the event, the participants expressed their desire to continue collaboration through the platform of Women's Kurultai.
For reference: In 2021 the first Women's Kurultai was established in Naryn, Osh and Chui provinces to boost women empowerment and their participation in political, social, economic development in Kyrgyzstan. Series of local resolutions have been developed and recommended to establish gender equality with the participation of more than 300 women and the support of the Council on Women's Rights and the Elimination of Gender Violence. The initiative continued in 2023 with the support of new representatives of the General Council for Women and Family Affairs and Women's Kurultai were held in other regions of Kyrgyzstan. This contributed to cooperation between formal and informal groups, where participants worked out solutions for a common agenda in the field of specific topics relevant to the local context.
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