Number of women in Kyrgyz local councils is increasing

May 28, 2021

Newly elected women deputies of local councils. Photo: Ibragimov Mederbek / UNDP Kyrgyzstan

The results of women's participation in local council elections and increased representation of women deputies in local keneshes throughout Kyrgyzstan were championed at the roundtable in Bishkek yesterday, on 27 May 2021. It was discussed during the round table "Women deputies: strong local self-government" that was held today, 27 May 2021 with the participation of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) of the Kyrgyz Republic, United Nations Development Programme, UN Women and OSCE Program Office in Bishkek, several women MPs as well as women deputies of the local keneshes from the regions of the Kyrgyzstan. 

Women deputies’ proportion in local keneshes have increased up to 36% or almost four times as a result of the 2021 local council elections, according to Nurzhan Shaildabekova, Chairperson of the CEC of the Kyrgyz Republic: "The past elections to local councils renewed the whole structure of local self-government by 90%. Kyrgyz people are waiting for a qualitative change in local government and I am convinced that women deputies will bring stability and a huge contribution to the solution of many problems of local communities. As a result of the elections in April 2021, the number of women in local keneshes saw an increase of four times. This is a political victory for our women!".

"All our efforts to gender equality have yielded first positive results this year", - said Aida Kasymalieva, Deputy speaker of the Jogorku Kenesh on May 27 during a roundtable. “Women who have received people's votes have gathered here today. This cannot be called only the result of the introduction of quotas. Each of you knows how much effort is behind each vote. And this is the people`s trust in you. You are all leaders!" - said MP Aida Kasymalieva. 

In her speech Mrs. Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Kyrgyzstan Resident Representative emphasized: “The increase in women elected to local keneshes to 36 % is an achievement for the whole country. Women’s equal political participation is the basis for democracy, sound development outcomes and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Today we rejoice in the increase of women’s participation and winning the trust of their constituencies. Beyond any stereotypes or political divisions, the people of Kyrgyzstan voted for women as their leaders of the future”.

The round table also summed up the results of the "School of Women's Political Leadership'' training, which were held throughout the country with the support of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, as well as cooperation of CEC and UNDP to conduct an innovative raising awareness campaign through informational meetings on the reform and its potential, encouraging female candidates to run for offices and local authorities to create commendable conditions for such participation, as well as strengthening capacity of the female candidates to campaign effectively in line with the legal procedures.

“Today, women are not only changing the lives of our families, villages, organizations and countries for the better, but they are bringing new content into the definition of leadership. Many women have already entered the 21st century as leaders, fighting stereotypes and inspiring future generations with their own example. And they expect their village, country and the whole world to follow them”,- said Ambassador Alexei Rogov, Head of the OSCE Programme Office.

“Thanks to the results of the last elections of local keneshes, for the first time in the history of its independence, Kyrgyzstan got on the international map for achievements of women’s rights issues. This means that the country has a real opportunity to solve the problems of poverty, violence, inequality, which are the foundation of all economic and political issues. This also means that the health of the nation will be resolved at the highest level; issues of education, protection of mothers and children can have a huge breakthrough. This is a success for the whole country”,-  said UN Women Representative in Kyrgyzstan Ulziisuren Jamsran.

Followed by her, women who became members of local Keneshes shared the challenges and obstacles that they faced during the April 2021 elections and what contribution women make to the development of the local community in Kyrgyzstan. 

Darika Kalykova, member of local kenesh of Kara-Bulak village, Batken region, said: “I am proud that I was elected as a chairwoman of our kenesh. Our work began with a conflict in the border zone, and we started our work with difficult cases. We helped women who were left homeless, we provided the border guards with hot meals, and distributed humanitarian aid. I believe that women will fairly distribute the local budget, solve social and educational issues. I believe that we can meet the expectations of our people”.

Meerim Moldalieva, Chairwoman of the local kenesh in Baizak village of Naryn region: “With the support of our residents, I became the chairwoman of the local kenesh. Family support plays a huge role in women's leadership. A woman can take care of her family and her community and seek better conditions for her fellow villagers. I want to help our youth get professional education, help orphans and low-income families, improve the infrastructure of the village and improve opportunities for women! ”.

According to the CEC,  the local council elections on April 11, 2021  were held at 448 local keneshes, including 28 towns and 420 villages of the Kyrgyz Republic. It was the first time in the history of the local government elections in Kyrgyzstan to reserve at least 30% of mandates for women in each local keneshes.  As a result of the comprehensive and collaborative work of the Central Elections Committee together with United Nations Development Programme, OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, UN Women and local NGos, the number of women deputies at local keneshes increased from 11% to 38%.

Media contacts:

Ainagul Abdrakhmanova, head of communication department UNDP  Tel: +996 770 755 776

Kunduz Rysbek, head of communication department OSCE  Tel.: +996 755 981 404

Nargiz Koshoibekova, communications specialist UN Women country office Tel.: +996 550 981 221

Snapshots from the event

Photo: Ibragimov Mederbek, Euna Jo / UNDP Kyrgyzstan