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Participation of Women in Political Institutions of Post-Soviet Countries

Abstract

After the disintegration of the USSR, the Central Asian countries started to pursue independent development strategies and identified new domestic policy priorities. It is of special scholarly interest to compare the efforts by Central Asian governments to improve female representation in politics. The article is devoted to the consideration of state policies and measures aimed at increasing the participation of women in political institutions in Central Asia. The most and the least effective strategies for women's political empowerment were highlighted based on the analysis of the regulatory framework in the field of women's empowerment, as well as on the degree of application of gender statistics and gender budgeting. In particular, the authors address the matter of electoral gender quotas, which are already introduced by Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It is stressed that the adoption of this policy tool in the two counties has had its limitations, taking into consideration the existence of legal ways to circumvent the gender-quota requirements. The authors also indicate Kazakhstan’s progress in collecting gender data that is “open, accessible, comparable, free and understandable”. Improving data quality and representativeness facilitates the development of practical steps to achieve gender equality in politics. At the same time, the authors point out a negative trend in the region: some countries are gradually moving away from having a distinct strategy pertaining to gender issues. Such approach may shift the focus from closing the gender gap to solving a wider range of social policy issues. The article shows that in general the countries in question implement a conservative gender policy and are not inclined to fully effect such practices as gender budgeting and the collection of relevant and complete gender statistics. It is concluded that Russia has an opportunity to act as a trendsetter, in particular by applying a gender-sensitive approach in providing development assistance to the countries of Central Asia.

Keywords:

Central Asia; women in politics; political participation; public policy; gender equality policy


Authors: Marina Lebedeva, Svetlana Stoliarova

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