Issues of gender equality in Kazakhstan – intentions and reality

Kazakhstan doubts about the results of improved gender equality. There are still almost no women in the leadership of Kazakhstan, and among the deputies of parliament their share does not reach even a third, Finprom, the analytical portal about business and finance, said.

It said that the results of the last parliamentary elections showed that the country’s authorities conducted partial reforms and ratification of international conventions, creating only an image for international standards, instead of actual involving more women in politics.

The proportion of women in the lower house of parliament, the Majilis in Kazakhstan, has been growing over the past 25 years and has always been about the same level as the world average, and in 2012 exceeded it for the second time in 24 years and has not declined since. However, the analytical portal  claims that these figures are very small compared to the number of men in the main elective body of the country.

Kazakhstan ranks only 69th globally in terms of the proportion of women in unicameral parliaments or the lower house of parliament, based on the research in 2021. Such data was provided by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women. However, Sweden, the main country of the world of victorious feminism, took only seventh place with 47% of women. In the first place was Rwanda from Africa: women there occupy 61.3% of the seats in the lower house of the national legislature

29 women were elected in 2021 to the 107-seat Majilis of Kazakhstan, which is 27% of the total number of deputies. The indicator is approximately the same as that achieved in the previous elections in 2016. Legislative reforms carried out between these elections, which introduced a 30% quota for women and youth in party lists, did not change anything.

At the same time, among 22 members of the government of Kazakhstan, there are only two women. These posts went to Minister of Health Azhar Ganiyat and Minister of Labor and Social Protection Tamara Duysenova, according to Finprom.

When considering the gender composition of the civil service as a whole, the data from 2018 show that the proportion of women is 55%. However, with rare exceptions, they do not occupy key positions. These are mostly women in the administrative service, and not in the political one. But even in administrative positions, there are very few women in leadership positions – only 4%.

Among political civil servants, the proportion of women in 2021 was 9.1%. For more than 20 years, this figure has hardly grown. The steady trend of women’s low presence in public service has been markedly fluctuating at times. For example, in 2003 and 2018, the share of women peaked at 11.1% and 11.7%, while in 2019 it was only 7%

The problem of gender equality in the post-Soviet countries, and especially in the countries of Central Asia, remains relevant. In the societies of the countries of the region, this issue has been raised for many years, but due to the mentality of the people and the existing socio-economic problems, it still remains on the agenda. The situation of gender equality in the five states of the region is quite different. In Kyrgyzstan, legislative bases were created for women to be represented at least 30% in the elective bodies of the country, but in the course of the work of the parliament, this percentage steadily decreased. In other states the situation remains not better.,
August 24, 2022