National goal 3. Promote gender equality and empower women
Target 3: Achieve Gender Equality in Primary, Basic Secondary and Vocational education by 2015
Target 4: Improve Gender Balance in Higher Education by 2015
What is Gender?
Gender is not about women, it is about the relationship between men and women and the authority of one over another. The concept of gender is used to differentiate the socially constructed roles that are ascribed by society to men and women. More importantly, it helps us identify how differently men and women benefit from social and economic development. Gender examines how cultural, social and economic differences affect the roles of men and women in the family, the work place and in society at large.
- The gender disparity in elementary and secondary education is all but closed in Uzbekistan.
In higher education, the proportion of female students enrolled at post-graduate level was 25 per cent in 1995 and rose to 45.3 per cent by 2005.
- At Doctoral level, enrollment has increased from 12 per cent female candidates in 1995 to 37.1 per cent in 2005.
The proportion of women participating in parliament's political decision-making process, has increased from 6 per cent in 1994 to 16 per cent in 2005.
- The head of the Women’s Committee also acts as a Deputy Prime Minister. The representatives of the Women’s Committee in regions also act as Deputy Khokims and are responsible for promoting the interests of women at local levels.
What is being done to promote Gender Equality in Uzbekistan?
The Government has adopted a number of laws and national programs, including the National Platform of Action (1998-2005) that outlines the strategy and priority areas for improving the status of women in Uzbekistan.
The National Program was recently developed based on the President's decree on “Additional measures to support the Women's committee of Uzbekistan”. It focuses on improving women's economic situation by increasing employment of women and promoting their entrepreneurial activities. It also envisage measures to increase women's political and social participation.
The UN CEDAW Committee has prepared recommendations to Uzbekistan's CEDAW implementation report. As a follow-up, the Government adopted the National Action Plan and established a national working group to coordinate and monitor its implementation.
The Government of Uzbekistan supports a number of activities to raise women's awareness of their rights and to improve their status in society.
Women make up more than half of the population (50.1% in 2004) and 52% of the female population is of childbearing age(15 and 49). Nearly 65% of women over the age of 16 are married and only 10% of women over 50 have never been married. The average age for women to marry is around 20, with 60% of women marrying between the ages of 20 and 24. About 32% of babies are born to women between the ages of 20 and 24.
As with many CIS countries, the women of Uzbekistan saw their role in society decline during the past decade as traditional stereotypes made a comeback. The customary view is that men are superior to women in society, and as such must be the main household caregiver and economic provider. These beliefs often restrict women's access to better-paid and managerial jobs, and also threaten parents' investment in the education of girls.
Gender and Education
Gender equality in education is guaranteed by the Constitution. The national Law on Education adopted in 1997 envisages equal rights for men and women to choose a profession and to be educated in all educational establishments.
Primary and secondary schooling in Uzbekistan has been compulsory and well implemented - as such, there are no gender disparities to speak of. However, differences are noticed at higher levels of education.
For the 2004/2005 academic year, the ratio of boys to girls was relatively equal with 51% for boys and 49% for girls. In the level of senior specialized education that includes academic lyceums, some discrepancies appear, with 64% of boys to 36% of girls. In vocational colleges the ratio of boys to girls is 53% to 47%
From official statistics it is evident that there is a need for improvement of gender balance in higher levels of education, including academic lyceums and higher educational institutions. This is more and more characterized by difficulties and limitations of future career opportunities for women in the labor market..
Continuing education in higher and vocational levels, as well as increased participation in economic activities will be important to reduce gender stereotyping in the Uzbek society and not restricting women to the home. The Government recognizes this and pays special attention to girls’ education through a number of programs and the National Action Plan.
Women in Political Decision-Making
With the recent laws aimed at promoting women’s political participation and decision- making, the number of women parliamentarians has significantly improved. top
According to the newly introduced quota system, political parties have to nominate at least 30% women in the total number of candidates to the legislative and representative authorities. Currently, there are 21 women (18%) in the Legislative
Chamber and 15 women (15%) in the Senate. Executive bodies comprise 3.4% and judicial authorities comprise 22.7% of female representation.
The Women's Committee is the main institution responsible for the formulation and implementation of Government policies relating to women's issues in the country. The Head of the Women's Committee also acts as a Deputy Prime Minister. To ensure the balance of female decision-making power throughout the country, representatives of the Women's Committee in Viloyats also act as Deputy Khokims and are responsible for promoting women's interests and their capacities at local levels.