UZBEKISTAN: Uzbek Roundtable Discusses Women's Role in Domestic Politics

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Central Asian Newswire
Central Asia
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Uzbek authorities recently held a roundtable to discuss increasing the participation of women in political life, the Uzbekistan Daily news web site reported on Monday.

The event put parliamentary deputies together with representatives of the Central Election Commission and political experts.

The participants noted that even though Uzbek law permits equal access to women in public service and equal participation in state and public affairs at all levels, women are not well represented in the government.

Nevertheless some 33 women, or 22 percent, won seats in the lower legislative chamber during 2009 elections, while women currently make up 20 percent of local governmental bodies.

However Uzbek regulations call for women to make up at least 30 percent of candidates to the lower house of parliament.

Despite the shortfall, female participation in politics is growing, figures show.

In 2004 some 21 women, or just 18 percent, won seats in the legislative chamber, while 15 women (15 percent) were elected to the Senate.

That compares with only 12 female MPs in 1999.

Participants said the quota for women cannot fully solve the problem of low numbers of women sitting in government positions.

The solution is to train larger numbers of women to levels that they can undertake professional responsibilities in legislative bodies, reported participants as saying.

Women have done better in other areas of politics. During 2007 presidential elections, women made up some 41 percent of election commission members and 20 percent of regional election commission members, the news agency noted.