Development of women’s leadership at local level is essential for peace building

13 Aug 2014

imageJanna Saralaeva, Expert of the Department on Ethnic, Religious Policy and Interaction with Civil Society of the President’s Office, talking about women’s role in peace building processes. Credit: Altynai Nanaeva / UNDP.

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – Representatives of ministries, 12 local self-government bodies and civil society took part in seminar on women’s leadership in peace building at local level. The purpose of seminar is to strengthen participants’ capacity in women’s leadership and promote their participation in conflict prevention and peace building.    

The participants studied such issues as women’s leadership in peace building, role of local self-government bodies in development of local community, gender policy in Kyrgyzstan, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, political and civil rights of women.

“Unfortunately, there are too many prejudices in our society, a woman does not dare to express her leadership skills. Our women do not involve in decision making process thus deprive themselves of opportunity to settle many grassroots problems”, - says Chinara Jusupova, representative of the NGO Support Coordination Center in Jalal-Abad. According to her, development of women’s leadership is especially important in rural areas as Kyrgyz villages face many social problems, but women do not have a voice in solving them as they mostly spend their time housekeeping and childrearing. 

The issue of women leadership at local level is becoming more acute. According to the Public Association “Women Support Centre”, Kyrgyz women are rarely represented on decision making levels. For instance, there is only one woman (Bishkek, Sverdlovskyi district) among 44 heads of district administrations; there are no women-mayors and only 6% of 453 heads of ayil okmotu (village administrations) are women. Thus it is essential to enhance the role of women in local communities and also in peace building.   

It is the issue of peace building that concerned Muhabbat Abdullaeva, officer of Aksai ayil-okmotu, Batken region. She had been working as a chief of Uch-Dobo village for 5 years and knows first-hand about problems that residents face and especially women. Uch-Dobo is located in the epicenter of transboundary disputes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Border issues create tensions in the village. 

“Last disputes around road construction in transboundary zone urged our women to the streets. We, as Tajik women, strive for peace, however we do not have enough skills in conflict settlement, that is why I decided to participate in training”, - says Muhabbat.

In the course of this training the participants developed a number of activities on enhancing leadership skills of women with focus on peace building that will be considered in local development plans of ayil-okmotu.

The seminar was hosted by a gender equality advocate organization the Association of “Women Support Centre” with technical and financial support of UNDP’s Peace and Development Programme.