A Watchful Eye – UNDP Security Guard Oksana Taran

08 May 2014

Tashkent resident Oksana Taran spends her free-time outdoors, visiting the city’s parks with her family. She also loves gardening and listening to music. This quiet weekend life is in stark contrast to her weekdays, during which the security of the UNDP Country Office relies on her constant vigilance.

For some, having to protect millions of dollars of equipment, and more importantly the safety of 60 staff members, may seem an enormous responsibility. But this is precisely what makes Ms. Taran’s work fulfilling.

“In my job I need to be fully aware of the circumstances and situations that surround me, so I need to be responsible and hard-working,” Ms. Taran said, speaking to the UNDP communications team.

“I am the only female on our security team, and I feel the support, respect and care of my colleagues. I have great respect for the UN, and it has always been my ambition to work for the organisation.”

Ms. Taran is one of thousands of Uzbek women who are breaking the cultural and social stereotypes of their gender, and who are paving the way for other women in previously-untapped professions.

Having completed an illustrated career in the military, Ms. Taran is no stranger to high-stress situations. She would recommend her work to other women, so long as they are willing to accept the requirements.

“Everyone who wants to work in this field has to be mentally and physically prepared, and this also applies to women applicants,” she said. “In my case I have experience with the system, and doing the work comes easy to me.”

“Other women are ready and have the desire to work in this field, and I’d highly recommend it to them.”

Working at the UN has been valuable professional experience for Ms. Taran – giving her a chance to pursue a career in one of the world’s largest humanitarian organisations.

“In the future I will want to look for chances to advance in this career, but for now I’m happy with the position I have,” she said. “I want to make a contribution to the organisation, and to become a member of the team.”

Outside the office, Ms. Taran has a husband and child and likes to spend as much free time as she can with them. Her family loves nature, and so on the weekends they spend their time outdoors.

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