Kyrgyz Republic is the country with 95% of its territory is mountainous with altitude more than 1000 meters. More than 60% of the country’s population lives in rural area and work as farmers and kettle breeders on highland pastures. Half of the rural population are women and more than 40% of them work in agricultural sector. Women`s role in rural and mountain communities and agriculture is very diverse and is extremely significant. They accomplish a notable part of the work, such as the production of food, farming, as well as the bulk of unpaid household duties.
Because of such geographic characteristic of Kyrgyz Republic women in mountain areas are facing with most of problems of all rural women, however, there are some specific problems which worsen the current problems with womens’ rights abuse, political, social and economic discrimination, aggression and violence against women.
Despite improvements in issues of women’s rights and empowerment of their opportunities due to the Government of Kyrgyzstan, women in rural and mountain areas of Kyrgyzstan are still left behind in contrast to rural men and urban women.
The cause of such situation is less access to qualified education, non-participation in decision-making processes in communities, economic activities and other spheres. In addition, women in mountain areas don’t know their rights and face gender and other stereotypes and prejudices.
On the top of that women in mountain areas are influenced by complications in provision of basic public and social services such as water and electricity supply, healthcare service and access to education.
Complex terrain of Kyrgyzstan creates additional complications for infrastructure development in mountain and rural areas. As the result women in mountain areas are suffering from lack of opportunities to develop personal potential and realize own rights. Most of them have to choose between hard work on fields and housekeeping at the same time or only housekeeping. Absence of jobs leads to migration of rural men from mountain areas to other countries and big cities of the Kyrgyz Republic for work. As the result women bear the brunt of providing families with all necessary things.
Government of the Kyrgyz Republic conduct work aimed at development of the country’s provinces. In this regard President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov announced 2018 as the Year of Development of Kyrgyzstan’s Provinces by his decree. In framework of this Year public bodies of Kyrgyzstan will support small and medium entrepreneurship, promotion of the provinces’ export specialization, improvement of transport services, expansion of access and quality improvement of public and municipal services, development of healthcare and educational networks, cultural and social life, security and infrastructure of border territories.
In framework of the Year of Kyrgyzstan’s Provinces Development the State Program of irrigation development of Kyrgyz Republic for 2017-2026 is implemented. The Program would increase water supplement of 56,1 hectares and create more than 200 thousand jobs. The Program will expand job opportunities for women in rural and mountain areas and decrease rate of migration which will have positive effect on women’s economic conditions
Moreover, the work over expanding access to education for women from mountain areas is being conducted. In 2016 in the Naryn province the University of Central Asia was opened. This was the result of international cooperation between Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Aga-Khan Development Network. The University expands opportunities of rural and mountain dwellers including women to acquire qualified education and increase possibility to find a decent job.
In addition, Government of the Kyrgyz Republic accepted the Program of Digital Transformation called “Taza Koom” was adopted. The aim of the Taza Koom is the transition to digital format of Kyrgyzstan’s economy. In framework of the Program the expansion of access to internet and other means of communication in every province of the country will improve access for women in mountain areas to public and municipal services and expand education opportunities.
At the same time Government of the Kyrgyz Republic constantly work on reformation of legislation aimed to protect women from all forms of discrimination and violence, promotion of gender equality and parity in the public bodies of Kyrgyzstan. In addition, the Government of Kyrgyzstan, in cooperation with the UN bodies and international organizations, arrange different events dedicated to development of women’s economic activity in mountain and rural areas
Improvement of women’s life conditions in mountain areas is an important element that promotes sustainable development. I’m sure that the today’s event will also contribute to development of dialogue and cooperation in sphere of women’s rights implementation and empowerment of opportunities for personal development.