Sharipov Jamshid – Head of the Department, Uzbekistan Development Strategy Centre
Issues of increasing the role of women in in the Uzbekistan society have been raised to the level of state policy over the past 5 years and 25 legislative acts have been adopted in this area. With the assistance of international organizations various programs to support women are being implemented.
A Committee on Women and Gender Equality and a Commission on Ensuring Gender Equality headed by the Chairman of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis have been established in the Senate of the Oliy Majlis.
Women are widely involved in the field of public administration. For the first time in the history of Uzbekistan, the number of women in the national parliament has been brought to a level corresponding to the UN recommendations, women make up 44% of the total number of members of political parties, occupy 27% of leadership positions, in the field of higher education women make up 40% of the total number of employees, in the field of entrepreneurship – 35%. Women are widely involved also in the information and communication, innovation, energy and engineering sectors.
In order to provide social and economic support to women and casework with them, a “women’s notebooks” system has been introduced. There is a system to cover the cost of education for needy girls who have lost both parents or one of them, single women who do not have a breadwinner, the number of grants for girls from low-income families when entering higher educational institutions has been doubled.
At the same time, there are issues that require serious attention in order to increase the participation of women in certain socio-economic spheres.
According to a study conducted by the World Bank in 2022 based on the Women, Business and the Law Index, which assesses the impact of laws and regulations in eight areas that affect women’s participation in economic life, such as freedom of movement, jobs, wages, marriages, parenting, entrepreneurship, property management and pensions, Uzbekistan ranked 127th with a score of 70.6 points. At the same time, Uzbekistan lags behind in the rating from Tajikistan, which scored 78.8 points, from Kyrgyzstan, which received 76.9 points, and from Kazakhstan, with the indicator of 69.4 points.
Low values in the index for Uzbekistan are observed in such indicators as wages (25 out of 100), jobs (50), pensions (50) and parenthood (60).
It should be noted that Uzbekistan, in addition to the Action Strategy, where the priority areas were to increase the socio-political and economic activity of women, strengthen their role in governing the state and society, ensure the employment of women, widely involve them in entrepreneurial activities, further strengthen the foundations of the family, the Development Strategy of New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026 defines strategic goals to support women and further increase their activity in society (goal 69).
To achieve this goal of the Development Strategy, the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On measures to further accelerate work on systemic support for families and women” dated 07.03.2022 No. UP-87 approved the National Program to increase the activity of women in all spheres of economic, political and social life of the country for 2022–2026.
The innovations in this document are the introduction of the practice of paying women employed in the private sector, pregnancy and childbirth benefits at the expense of the State budget, the provision of interest-free educational loans for a period of 7 years to pay for the educational contracts of women, the allocation of an additional 500 places in universities to admit women with seniority, 300 doctoral positions in state research institutes and universities for women, payment of educational contracts from the budget for 2,100 female students from families in need of social protection, as well as the provision of subsidies and tax incentives for entrepreneurial activities.
In turn, the implementation of this National Program will ensure the strengthening of the system of social protection of women, create the necessary conditions for girls to receive a full education and form them into specialists in popular specialties, increase the socio-economic activity and scientific potential of women, strengthen their role in society for ensuring gender equality.
All this will improve the rating of Uzbekistan in the “Women, Business and the Law” index annually determined by the World Bank in the report of the same name and will ensure that Uzbekistan fulfils the obligations adopted on the goals and targets in the field of sustainable development for the period up to 2030 (UN SDGs), where “Ensuring gender equality and empowering all women” is one of the priority goals.