Back to the roots or the power of Kyrgyz women

09 Apr 2017

During the recent Rule of Law Forum, launched by the UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic, I have met an incredible speaker. I noticed her immediately from the crowd, young woman with a short hair, dressed up boyish.  

I waited impatiently for her turn to appear as a speaker and share with us her life story. It turned that her name is Zamira, she is 32 years old and resides in a far remote village in the coldest region of Kyrgyz Republic, Naryn. She has her own yak farm with more than 500 yaks and loves hunting. She drives everything, but an aircraft and a carrier rocket. In other words, Zamira does everything in her village that Kyrgyz women will not usually do, breaking all the existing gender stereotypes and myths in our society.

When Zamira graduated from high school, her parents wanted her to become a veterinarian. But she wanted to become a doctor and cure people in need. As most of the young people residing in villages, Zamira also wanted to finish the school faster and leave to the city. She got accepted to the Kyrgyz Medical Academy and has in a few years realized that becoming a doctor is not her life goal but something that she has instilled in herself when young. She transferred to an IT faculty of the Kyrgyz State University, graduating with summa cum laude and have stayed to teach there.

You would legitimately wonder why would a young professor end up owning a huge yak farm and go back to the village. And here is an answer…

One day Zamira got a call from her dad, asking her to come to the village and help at the farm. In her words, she came for a month, but soon when her dad passed away, she felt strongly compelled to stay there and take over the yak farm. In two years, her farm grew so much bigger that she could no longer change her village life style and return to the city. “I have a life here, which gives me energy, motivation as well inner satisfaction every day,” - she exclaims.

Today, Zamira has 500 yaks, possesses vast lands. She is a manager, an accountant as well as a veterinarian at her farm. She drives tractor, harvester and provides with jobs to many of her village residents. In her village, she is even oftentimes referred to as Kurmanjan Datka, a Kyrgyz Queen, who ruled Alai region after her husband’s death back in 1900.

Zamira’s life story is not something you would regularly see in our country. She indeed is a brave woman, breaking stereotypes of what Kyrgyz women can achieve.

Her life story is deeply inspiring and tells us a big message that we are all equal no matter our gender!

Arslan Sabyrbekov, Communications and Civil Society Expert, Peace, Accountability and Justice, UNDP in Kyrgyz Republic (arslan.sabyrbekov@pmu.undp.kg)