KAZAKHSTAN: Women's Rights in Kazakhstan

Sunday, September 12, 2010
The Nation Sunday Plus
Central Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

Equal gender rights have always been a guaranteed indicator for the social development of a country. The nine million women (out of 15 million) has been enabled by the government of Kazakhstan to patronage them. Firstly the life expectancy of a Kazakh woman is 71 years, ten years more than that of a man. Secondly being larger in number, she is the real responsibility of her family. The one sixth of the population comprises of large families and sometimes the only source is a pension of a retired woman. Consequently women are encountered with unemployment and low income than the male community.

In the education sector, there is no disparity at the initial stages .Though the access to the higher education is a problem at all private sectors, the government provides free education and residence in Almaty and Astana (capital) to the eligible students without any prejudice.

In the Republic of Kazakhstan women are telescoped in education, army, police, civil service, business area and now are participating in other national issues as well. The parliament has 9.6% presence of women. Eleven are parliamentarians, eight belong to the senate and four out of fifteen are ministers at the state level. On the other hand Russia has no woman ministers at the state level. In the central management structure 18.3% is fixed for them.

The year 2005 came out with a pleasant reform for women. One deputy prime minister, two federal ministers and nine deputy ministers were appointed, though on political basis. There are twelve political parties. Two are being headed by women. ?Noor Otyn?? is the most famous liberal party that promotes women. President Nursultan Nazarbayev is from this party. His wife and three daughters are a great source for raising their country's image. Among the 166 women members of the party only nine were selected for senate. Out of 2430 registered organizations working for human rights, one hundred and fifty are being headed by women who depend upon national aid. Few of them rely upon foreign financing. The national law and constitution secures the women and emphasize on the implementation of laws related with them The article 14 of the constitution states that ?all are equal before the law and court and no one can be subjected to discrimination of any form of motivated by origin social and property status, occupation, sex, race, nationality, language, attitude to religion, convictions, place of habitation or by any other circumstances.

The government corroborates the implementation in memorial of the great struggle of women during tyranny of Russia. National commission and national council on family and women affairs and national action plan under the President are effectively playing their roles for it. The head of national commission Smagova with 28 members of her team is provoking the large number of women in official institutes.

According to the submitted report to UNO the following projects have been accomplished so far:
1: The dual nationality problem of married women has flexible code.
2: An organization of Eurasian women has been constructed
3: Women?s role in political activities has been marked positively.
4: Joint sessions of regional and national organizations of women are in practice.
5: New laws have been formulated for job opportunities and rights for women
6: Holding a seminar on ?woman, power and politics
7: Woman-East and West? magazine has been launched.

Moreover recently the parliament has passed HIJAAB BILL for protecting the rights of Muslim women. There are two greatest awards for women; Altyn Alka (golden pendant) for the mother of ten kids and Kumis Alka (silver pendant) for the mother of more than eight kids. In the golden pendant a mother gets resident and monthly income according to the number of kids. The transportation is free of charge for all but the silver pendant provides fifty percent discount to the above facilities. There are more packages for the widows, divorcees, award holders and the parents of twin kids. The pregnant women get enchanting packages for maternal afflictions.

The rural woman of Kazakhstan cannot meet the modernism of urban woman but generally the woman here is hard working, enthusiastic and sincere. Her life is challenging but she relishes the festivities zealously. In Pakistan Benazir income support programme and working women protection bill are commendable but not enough for future of the ever-growing population. Still we need to establish favourable environment for women, only then they can participate boldly in the process of national integrity.