Population size and demographic: 10.36 million. 50.5 % female and 49.5% male. 56.8% of the total population is living in urban areas, with 2.37 million people living in Baku, the capital.
Women at Work
There isn’t much of a gender gap in Azerbaijan when it comes to male and female employment rates in the labor market, but the type of careers women and men pursue differ massively. Azerbaijani women tend to work in lower wage jobs, while men dominate higher paid jobs like engineering and management (1). Many sectors are almost exclusively male, with only 7.1% of the workforce for construction being female (2), and only 10% of managers in civil service being women (1). About 674 occupations across many economy sectors are reserved to men by labor laws. (1) Women are not allowed to conduct freight wagons, lay asphalt or drive buses with over 14 seats, and this is said to be due to safety hazards, but there is a lack of evidence-based justification for the majority of these restrictions. All of this results in Azerbaijan having the highest reported pay gap in Europe and Central Asia, with men earning 46% more than women (2).
Out of all unemployed people in Azerbaijan, 57.7% are women (3). In terms of women in entrepreneurship, Azerbaijan ranks 36 out of 146 countries rated in Economic Participation and Opportunity in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report (4) and The Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan was established in 2017, which has resulted in an increase of 15% in women entrepreneurs, from 4% to 29% (5).
As of 2021, the female labor force participation in Azerbaijan is 60.37%, ranking 45 out of 181 countries (6).
Women’s Participation in Parliament
In Azerbaijan women were granted the right to vote in 1918, when Azerbaijan first gained independence. This right continued to be implemented through Soviet administration, as well as when Azerbaijan became independent again in 1991. When it comes to the Azerbaijani National Parliament, there are 120 members, 22 of which are women, constituting 18.33% of seats held by women in parliament (7), which is an increase from 16% in 2018 (5). In 2017, a woman was appointed Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the first time and 86 judges were women in 2018 (5).
In 2012, UNDEF (United Nations Democratic Fund) funded a project to implement a Women’s Parliament in Azerbaijan, with the goal to address gender-based inequalities and have women take equal part in the political life of the country. The project resulted in the Women’s Parliament successfully establishing itself as a recognized platform to raise gender issues, with 25 women leaders across 6 committees covering major areas in need for women’s rights progress. (8)
Violence Against Women
Domestic violence is concerning in Azerbaijan, with 43% of women having experienced domestic violence in their lifetime (9). With this being said, Azerbaijani women are expected to stay silent in the face of domestic violence, which results in underreporting. Azerbaijan has a concerning number of child marriages, with data from 2013 revealing around 5000 girls married before reaching the age of 18 in 2013 (10) and in 2021, around 11% of girls between 20-24 were victims of early marriage (11).
In terms of femicide, it is a continuous worry for Azerbaijani women. In the first half of 2021 33 women were killed (12). In July of 2021, 5 women were killed in the span of 10 days, 4 of which died at the hands of their partners (13). These women were Aygun Mirzayeva, Mubarak Agayeva, Lyudmila Tatachenko, Khatira Farajova and Nargiz Mustafayeva, and their stories contributed to protests and demonstrations by Azerbaijani activists, stating the lack of security for women in the country (14).
It is to note that Azerbaijan did not sign the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (9). This reveals there is still a lot to be done legally and politically in terms of combating domestic violence in Azerbaijan.
About 99.7% of Azerbaijani women have gone to primary and secondary school and the ratio of female and male attendance at school suggests women and men have the same access to education. However, there is a significantly higher rate of dropouts in girls, due to both financial difficulties and the high percentage of child marriages. (15)
Gender-based violence Hotline
860 from Baku
012 860 on mobile from other regions of the country