Tag Archives: employment

Steps towards gender equality in Kyrgyzstan

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Happy new year / S novim godom / Soli nav muborak to you all!

Kickstarting this year’s set of posts is a report from Kyrgyzstan on steps being taken – primarily by the government and a small but growing number of local NGOs – to bring greater equality to the country.

The article can be found at https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/cristina-maza/challenging-patriarchy-in-kyrgyzstan.

The author points out the unusual situation of formerly Soviet-run countries where women’s roles have actually decreased in equality terms since the fall of the Soviet Union at the start of the 1990s. Soviet policies towards women were, like many aspects of its rule, largely economic-led (e.g. more women in the workforce = greater productivity), but had knock on social and cultural impacts that benefitted women’s status.

Christina Maza’s balanced and interesting article offers an insight into how gender roles are developing in independent Kyrgyzstan. What is most fascinating is the stark divide for women, where the haves (middle class, educated etc) take bold steps towards a greater role for women by, for example, holding high level government posts but the have nots (often rural and from poorer backgrounds) may marry young and not be able to access opportunities for educational and/or career development.

I have in the past read about initiativesthat are bringing concepts of gender equality and women’s rights to more rural areas, but much more needs to be done to give parity to women within Kyrgyzstan. Last summer, I met with senior female university managers, one of whom has since been appointed to a very high level government post. I was perhaps even more delighted to meet a female taxi driver in Bishkek, a profession in many countries predominantly held by men. These women are in their own right extraordinary people, and I hope that across Kyrgyzstan more women will be able to develop and employ their skills on at least a level pegging with their male counterparts.

Skills and employability in Tajikistan

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The World Bank has recently published The skills road: skills for employability in Tajikistan (full citation at the end of this post). The report argues that

Generating more productive employment is arguably the most critical challenge [for the government, against a backdrop of relative political and economic stability].

This finding comes from an extensive household survey undertaken in Tajikistan that focussed on skills, the first of its kind. There are some interesting sections in the report explaining why this skills approach was taken and just how you go about measuring and comparing cognitive skills such as working memory and graph comprehension.

The strong conclusion of the report is that there are serious skills gaps in Tajikistan. Both the causes and the impact of these gaps are multifarious. As an example, the authors identify points throughout the life course where opportunities to enhance skills are currently being missed. During the early years of life, access to pre-school or equivalent early years education is not available to enough children. Once people have left education (and women are leaving education significantly earlier than their male counterparts), difficulties in finding work and a paucity of work-based training are contributing to a growing mis-match between the skills employers are increasingly demanding and the experiences that employees are able or willing to offer.

Given that the causes and outcomes are so extensive, the authors make a series of recommendations – they call this a ‘skills map’ to boost employability and productivity in Tajikistan:

Skills road map Tajikistan 2014

(From page 51 of the report)

This is a richly detailed report that makes use of some very valuable new primary data, and is well worth reading. This brief summary should hopefully whet your appetite!

Source

Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan , Hut, Stefan, Abdulloev, Ilhom, Audy, Robin, de Laat, Joost, Kataoka,
Sachiko, Larrison, Jennica, Nikoloski, Zlatko and Torracchi, Federico (2014) The skills road: skills
for employability in Tajikistan. World Bank, Washington, USA. Available at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/60024/1/__lse.ac.uk_storage_LIBRARY_Secondary_libfile_shared_repository_Content_Nikoloski%2C%20Z_Nikoloski_Skills_Road_Tajikistan_Nikoloski_Skills_%20Road_Tajikistan_2014.pdf.