For Immediate Release
The role of women in development is widely recognized as vital for socio-economic development in any society. Yet in many parts of the world women are still challenged by restrictions placed upon their full participation in socio-economic development of their societies. Women in Azerbaijan nominally enjoy the same legal rights as men; however, in certain sections of Azerbaijan society, traditions and social norms prevent them from enjoying their rights and contributing to the economic betterment of family, community and the country’s overall socio-economic development. Women in remote areas are especially vulnerable to inequity due to gender discrimination. Consequently, State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs; in collaboration and with support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); is working to increase women's leadership, knowledge and skills as part of a broader package of women empowering policies and initiatives seeking to strengthen women’s participation in the democratic and economic development of Azerbaijan.
On May 3rd and 4th, the USAID-supported Women’s Participation Program held two round-table discussions in Gedabey and Tovuz in order to foster discussions in the regions on challenges and opportunities for expanding women’s role in all spheres of society and in national governance. The Deputy Heads of Executive Powers of the two regions, local municipal leaders, community leaders, and women from local executive governmental structures, and local NGOs participated in the round tables.
Speaking at the Tovuz event, Member of Parliament Ms. Ganira Pashayeva stressed that gender equality is an integral part of human rights and freedoms in public administration. She highlighted the need for further growth and expansion of women's participation in local governance. Stressing the importance of mounting a wider campaign to promote gender equality in the regions, she emphasized that "development of society and the state is achieved through the empowerment of woman to fully and equitably participate in community and regional development ".
The Chairwoman of the Public Union “Women for Development of Municipalities” Ms. Lyudmila Khalilova, noted that the aim of the Women’s Participation Program (WPP) is to increase the capacity of women to safeguard their rights and participation in local governance processes, and thus strengthen women's influence on decision-making processes.
The May 3rd and 4th roundtables followed other major events in the cooperation between USAID and the State Committee, one of the most notable being the two-day Women's Leadership Conference held in Baku in November 2012, where a high level dialogue was held with representatives of the government, members of parliament and international organizations. This nationally important event resulted in preparation of 22 recommendations submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers.
In order to promote similar discussions in the regions, USAID and the State Committee are organizing a Second Women’s Leadership Conference to be held on May 23 in Shemkir.
The Women’s Participation Program, supported by USAID and implemented by Counterpart International, seeks to improve the socio-economic status of women in Azerbaijan by raising public awareness on issues that affect women, and by empowering more women to engage in political and decision making processes.
Last updated: December 10, 2013