05 Mar 2014
Blog by Ziyodullo Parpiev
This picture was taken several years ago as evidence that a UNDP project was helping a community to bring safe drinking water. In the picture you will see that the women are digging a ditch with ketmen, a traditional shovel-type instrument in Uzbekistan. What are men doing? They are standing nearby and commanding the earth-digging process.
Maybe the picture was not intended to mean it, but for me it is a symbol of gender equality in the country. Just few numbers – women constitute 45.4% of all employed (in 2012), but they are primarily employed in low-paying sectors such as health care and education (76.2% and 68.4% of total employment in those sectors, respectively). Women are greatly underrepresented in sectors with higher wage such as construction (9.2%), transport and communications (12.2%) and manufacturing (39.3%). As a result, women end up earning on average 30-40% less than men.
Very important difference between men and women is time spent on un-paid work at home: women on average spend almost 4 hours on housekeeping and other household chores, while men spend only 1 hour every day (data on time spent on different activities comes from 2005 ADB survey as reported in the Women and Men of Uzbekistan 2000-2005 publication). The uneven distribution of the household chores shows that lower labour participation of women might be “compensated” by unpaid work at home, which enforces the existing divide between male and female employment.
Education, which could have alleviated some gender inequalities, instead seems to be enforcing them. After mandatory secondary education, the higher you go, the larger is gender divide: females constitute only 36.5% of student body, 27.8% of people with kandidat nauk degree, and 18.6% of people with doctor nauk degree.
Women occupy even less top managerial positions in all branches of government – total percentage of women in public institutions is 16.9%, while women constitute 21.7% of Legislative chamber, 15% of Senate, 14.3% of judiciary and 6.5% of the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan.
Representation of women at the managerial level of the economy is slightly better. As of January 1, 2010, 26.8% of managers in the economy were women. However, women exclusively occupy low- and medium-level managerial positions, and representation of women in the top positions is almost non-existent.
Of course, these are just numbers. Many fellow men say this is how it is supposed to be, how it has always been. It may be true that traditionally women have played secondary role in economic and political life in Uzbekistan. But it is not supposed to be that way in the 21st century. By not providing equal opportunities to all, we do not fully utilize the most important resource we have – human capital. In addition to not utilizing resources the most efficiently, gender inequality is a part of overall inequality in the society. Since we do value fairness and equity on its own, greater equality in opportunities for men and women alike should undoubtedly make us a happier nation. That is why I care about gender equality.
- UNDP Uzbekistan was at The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) workshop on agri-food supply chains in the cross-border trade of nuts and dried fruit. UNDP gave a short presentation about UNDP’s assistance in the area of food processing/dried fruits and nuts with an overview of the sector in Uzbekistan, reflecting the existing challenges and providing recommendations. The international workshop was for experts from all over the world to discuss the revision and development of UNECE standards for nuts and dried fruit, sampling plans and important trade issues. The participants received information on how to set up an efficient inspection service and how to train producers and traders. - Sherzod Akbarov 6 hours ago
- Создание центров «одно окно», одна из важных инициатив ПРООН. Запуск центров позволит жителям нашей страны воспользоваться государственными услугами в одном месте, без необходимости напрямую контактировать с различными министерствами, ведомствами. Это, в свою очередь, значительно улучшит качество государственных услуг, оказываемых обществу. 6 hours ago
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