Anara Tabyshalieva Central Asia and Azerbaijan: gender equalityand property issues UNECE Seminar Policies for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the ECE region: reducing extreme income inequalities October 2-3, 2003, Palais des Nations, Geneva
Key problems in gender equality and property issues in Central Asia and Azerbaijan • Increasing poverty and hardship of women dependent on state support. Shrinking share of women in Azerbaijan and all Central Asian states except Kazakhstan in the past decade • Gender disparity in labor market. Falling demand for labor in sector where women traditionally consist a majority. Female unemployment and underemployment. Barriers to employment and credit programs • Lack of tenure security for women in privatization process of real estate, including irrigated land.
Revival of customary law and traditions of gender discrimination • A rise of domestic violence against women • New barriers to education/literacy. The enrollment of girls in schools and universities is falling. • An increase of involvement of women in shadow economy
Barriersfor women’s access to land/water and property • Traditional interpretation of household ownership and inheritance practice • Local institutions impeding women’s access to land and water • Unawareness of women of their tenure rights • Lack of resources for participation in land market and credit programs
Local traditions’ impact on gender inequality and property issues • Lack of women’s access to decision-making • Inheritance by male relatives • Early marriages • Polygamy • Kidnapping of women in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan • Legally unregistered marriages • Bride price and dowry • High rate fertility • Lack of employment opportunities for young women
Disadvantaged groups of women • Legally unregistered wives • Second wives • Pensioners • Widows • Single mothers • Unmarried daughters
Recommendations • Support for the equal rights of women and men • Put forward gender-sensitive approach in economic programs • Discuss the future of gender equality in all social and ethnic groups • Legal education of women and men • Discuss reproductive rights of women and family planning issues • Provide more credit programs for poor and disadvantaged women
Recommendations • Educate women and men at all levels about women’s right in household ownership including land and real estate. Muslims girls and women and their relatives should be aware of legal issue of property division • Discuss and regulate property ownership laws for widows, divorced and single women and women with no children. • Discuss the issue of daughter’s right to inheritance and bride price and dowry
Review regulations of male-dominated traditional institutions (Court of Elders and Mahalla Committee) sponsored by governments • Research an impact of customary law on women’s right and income. Research an impact of polygamy, underage and unregistered marriages, kidnapping and gender segregation and find a solution how to deal with a division of property. • Governments, donors and non-governmental organizations should prioritize women’s rights to land and property, security of female owners in economic programs.