Statement by Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan on the occasion of the launch of Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions

October 19, 2022
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Muhtaram Narbaeva khonim, Hurmatli honimlar va janoblar, Assalomu alaykum! 

On behalf of United Nations Development Programme, I welcome you at the launch of the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions in Uzbekistan. A global initiative that celebrates national efforts to create societies where women and men have equal opportunities.

I am very proud that Uzbekistan is the first country in Central Asia to pioneer this tool, as this very well resonates with the country’s international commitments and its active advocacy to promote gender equality. For example,

  • As part of the five-year Global Acceleration Plan adopted at the Generation Equality Forum in 2021, Uzbekistan has committed to expanding women’s economic opportunities, improving reproductive health and eradicating gender-based violence.
  • It has submitted 6 periodic reports on the implementation of Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the latest Concluding Observations published in 2022.
  • For the past several months, Uzbekistan has become a regional dialogue platform for women leaders from Central Asia and other countries. Two big events come to mind: (1) the Summit of Women Speakers of Parliaments of the Inter-Parliamentary Union where the Tashkent Declaration was adopted, and (2) the fourth Women's forum of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was also hosted in Tashkent.

This is consistent with the intense work carried out by the Government to advance gender equality and women’s rights within the country. For example:

  • Uzbekistan is making steady progress in expanding representation of women at senior level of governance - particularly in the parliament (32% MPs) and the judiciary (16% lawyers).
  • In the overall effort to find the best arrangements, Uzbekistan is continuously revisiting its gender equality and women empowerment machinery. The latest is the creation of the State Committee for Family and Women Affairs.
  • In March this year, a broad National Program was endorsed to encompass all initiatives aiming for enhanced women’s role in economic, political and social life.

In general, Uzbekistan’s progress on gender equality is quite impressive, particularly given the short time span. Of course, much more needs to be done so that the documents and institutions make difference for all women and girls of Uzbekistan. 

It is also useful and wise to measure the progress, to quantify it. And for that purpose – we argue for more gender disaggregated data, statistics but also for mechanisms to measure the progress – especially at subnational and sectoral levels.

And this is where the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions comes into play. It is a UNDP initiative that globally supports and recognizes public institutions that commit to and improve on advancing gender equality and women empowerment. 

  • It is an award programme that measures the progress of governments and public institutions against internationally validated standards of gender equality. 
  • It supports them every step of the way and offers innovative tools and guidance on gender equality.
  • Upon completion of the programme, a participating institution is recognized with a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Seal – to confirm its gender equality progress. 

The Gender Equality Seal is not just an award but a change management framework, which could benefit the participating agency in many ways:

  • First, it will make the public policies more gender-responsive, effective, and targeted to the needs of women. 
  • It will provide public institutions with a feasible and practical framework to strengthen their capacities and deliver for internal gender equality in a more effective and substantial way. 
  • The Seal establishes standards and performance benchmarks based on international and regional commitments. 
  • It provides a practical roadmap to put institutional commitments into practice, connecting the organizational structure with results and public policy impacts.  
  • Lastly, it will help synchronize the gender policy of the public institutions with the National Gender Equality Strategy of Uzbekistan.
  • And inspires others to join!

The programme allows for up to four public institutions to go through the process and we commend the State Customs Committee for being interested to be part of the Seal in 2022.

The Customs Committee is already making notable progress toward gender equality within the organization. This has been already recognized at national level - in 2020, the Committee was awarded "Gender Equality Activist" national award, and also was nominated "The Best Law Enforcement Body Protecting the Rights of Women and Girls". 

There are many more interested to join, including the Ministry of Finance and State Committee on Ecology. I am pleased to note that all institutions I have discussed this initiative expressed interest to join! 

I therefore hope this pilot will set a good example for achieving real equality between women and men and inspiration for all public institutions –and that we will see many other institutions joining the programme in the near future. 

I thank the organizers, the Senate, Gender Committee and Customs Committee, and the other interested institutions the Finance Ministry and State Committee on Ecology.  

I wish success to all of us.

E’tiboringiz uchun katta rahmat!