Conference “People's Democratic Party role for family values protection” organized by the People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan jointly with Department of civil acts of the Ministry of Justice of the RT and Committee of Women and Family Affairs under the Government of the RT

Date: 5 March

Time: 10.00 a.m.

Venue: Institute of Public Administration under the President of the RT 

Dear Madame Khairinisso Yusufi, Deputy Chairwoman of the People's Democratic Party,

Dear Mr. Azizi Abdujabbor Abdukahhor, First Deputy Chairman of the People's Democratic Party,

Dear Rahmonzoda Abdujabbor Aziz, Assistant to President of the Republic of Tajikistan on social development and public relations.

Happy International Women’s Day which has been designated as the Day of Mother in Tajikistan by the President of Tajikistan H.E Emomali Rahmon to celebrate the self- less and enormous role women have been playing as creator of human being, as caregiver and as nurturer. 

It is a day to internationally celebrate women’s achievements irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, cultural, economic or political background

Today we celebrate women as Human Beings who have equal Right as men to dream, be educated, participate in civic and political affairs, work and get paid for her work and have equal access to education, health care, job, credit and justice.  We celebrate the activism of 10-year-old Yemeni girl Nujood Ali, who fought and won a case for divorce from her 30 years old abusive husband and her courage to stand up and fight for her Rights which gave impetus for legal reforms in her home country and abroad and saved hundreds and thousands of other minor girls from early and forced marriage. We celebrate Malala Yusufzai for her fight for the right of girls to education, Greta for galvanizing millions for climate action, we celebrate the victories of Zebuniso Rustamova, Mavzuna Chorieva, Sabina Tyuryaeva, who glorified Tajikistan in the world’s sports; we celebrate the great women political leaders who fought for right to vote and  millions of women CEOs, innovators for their contribution in making this world a better place for all.

 But it is also the day to pause and reflect on the unfinished business of gender equality.

25 years ago, the world leaders in Beijing made a commitment to women and girls, but they have only made partial progress on their promise. Still everywhere women are worse off than men simply because they are women.  Women and girls account for 70 per cent of trafficking victims globally, more than one in three women experience violence in some form during her lifetime and astonishingly one-in-20 girls between the ages of 15 and 19, has experienced rape in her lifetime. Legal protections against rape and domestic violence are being diluted or rolled back in some places.

Tajikistan legislation grants equal rights to both men and women and the country is committed to meeting its international obligation for gender equality and has adopted very good strategies and programs. However, Tajikistan still has one of the lowest gender parity index in the CIS region (0.679). And regardless of progress and evidence of important advancement in the last decade, harmful social norms and practices continue to perpetuate gender inequality.

In the recent years, the labor force participation of women has declined and is largely concentrated in agriculture and unpaid care work, only 35.6% of teachers in universities are women and only 28% women are teachers with science degrees.  24% women at age 15-49 have experienced physical violence; 31% of ever married women experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence. But only 1 in 10 women has sought help to stop violence they experienced.

There are at least five areas in which achieving gender equality are needed. First, eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. For years, domestic violence has been considered a private family matter that no one should interfere with, or even speak about. For generations our gender stereotypes have made us all “normalize” violence and put the blame on women and justifying the behavior of men, who should actually be held responsible for their crime to physically or emotionally violate women. Tajikistan has adopted a law to stop domestic violence, but implementation of law requires increase in budget allocation and staff.

Earlier this year with support from the European Union, UN in Tajikistan has launched an ambitious global initiative called the Spotlight Initiative which will use a multi-pronged approach to eliminate sexual violence against women and girls and will be  implemented jointly by UNDP, UN Women, UNFAP and UNICEF with involvement of government and CSOs.

The second area is building inclusive economies.  The gender pay gap is one reason why women remain poor but also because they don’t get paid for their daily household and family care work. The President’s initiative to improve women entrepreneurship is excellent but much more is needed to expand skills of women, access to credit, day care for children, UNDP has been supporting women livelihoods, especially in rural areas, and creating opportunities for them to become entrepreneurs. 

Third, in the changing world, digital technology and innovation are becoming indispensable for progress and growth but there is a huge digital divide between men and women. Efforts are needed to promoting women in science, create opportunities for them to learn computer skills and access to internet. 

Fourth, increasing women’s political representation. Currently, 20% of parliamentarians in Tajikistan are women, we hope that this percentage will go up in the recent elections.  

Lastly, gender equality requires breaking gender stereotypes and changing attitudes across the society. This requires changing the way we bring up girls and boys and socialize them, so they learn to respect and regard each other equally. 

Thank you!      

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