Kyrgyz discuss women’s political participation

By Asker Sultanov

2012-02-15

BISHKEK – Conferees at the February 14 forum “Women in politics: yesterday, today, tomorrow,” organised by the Women’s Discussion Club, discussed reasons for the under-representation of Kyrgyz women in politics. MPs, political party leaders, NGO members and others attended.

“There isn’t one woman among the akims (oblast governors) because when they ran, they got no support,” said MP Bodosh Mamyrova. “(Women) are 53% of the electorate, but they don’t support one another.”

Nothing has changed, even after Roza Otunbayeva served as president for over a year and after parliament became 30% female, said Cholpon Dzhakupova, head of the Adilet legal clinic.

“I would suggest asking… how to arrange it so that women in politics are heard,” she said.

Women shy away from politics, said Zhashasyn Kyrgyzstan party leader and rights activist Toktaim Umetaliyeva. “When I was the only woman running for president (in 2011), whenever I turned to a women’s organisation, I’d get no response,” she added.

However, writer Mar Baydzhiyev argued women play a prominent role in Kyrgyz politics. “During a difficult transitional moment, a woman (Otunbayeva) took the helm,” he said.

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