Meet Rafika Musaeva: A scientist, and engineer, and initiator of a number of law amendments that laid foundation for the independent Tajikistan, she has been fighting for the rights of girls and women in science for many years now. She is also the founder and leader of Tajikistan’s first Association of Energy Professionals and an enthusiast to expand opportunities for women in energy sector , who make up only about ten percent of people working in this field.
She could have been a doctor today had she listened to her father’s advice, but she chose her own path. Inspired by scientific articles on engineering, which were in abundance in their house, she chose to become an electric drive and industrial plants engineer.
A high achiever, she was soon noticed by the university leadership for her academic accomplishments, her active social position and leadership skills, and was promoted further to join the Komsomol organization. This would later serve as a starting point for her political and policy-making career.
Musaeva believes that there was no such thing as men’s or women’s profession in the Soviet Union; men and women had the right and the opportunities to choose for themselves. Yet, the number of girls and women was significantly lower in technical professions. The civil war that hit Tajikistan in 1990’s increased that gap.
During the peak of the crisis and civil war, as members of parliament were considering amendments into the legislative basis of the newly independent country, Musaeva, then an elected deputy in Majlisi Oli (supreme assembly of Parliament), and three other women defended the need to keep polygamy illegal in Tajikistan. Following the success of this case, she later initiated and developed six other draft laws, including the Constitution of Tajikistan.
In 1994 President Emomali Rahmon awarded Musaeva as an honored worker of science and technology of Tajikistan. Her dedication to the country's development and her desire to elevate women’s role and encourage more girls in this largely male dominated sector, were crucial in improving a number of institutional and policy environment in the energy sector.
Rafika combined her love for science and technology with her policy-making experience to become the founder of the first Energy Association in Tajikistan to promote opportunities for women in energy sector (largely male dominated field). She is now actively engaged in a number of State and regional initiatives developing policy papers and implementing innovative projects with civil-society organizations, private sector, and youth.