Population size and demographic: 34.7 million. 50.10% of the population is female and 49.90% is male.
Women at Work:
In 2021, the female labour force participation rate in Uzbekistan was 45%. This rate has been gradually descending since 1996, when it reached 58% (1). About 9 in 10 unpaid workers in Uzbekistan are women (2) and an estimated 7% of the female labour force is unemployed (3). In 2018, 58.7% of workers in the public sector were women and women made up 26% of workers in the private sector (2). Most employed women were working in the Education sector and the Human health and social work industry, and the Construction sector and the Transportation and storage sector were the industries with the lowest share of female employees. (2)
Women’s Participation in Parliament:
When it comes to political participation, women hold 33.33% of seats in the Legislative Chamber, meaning 48 of the total 144 seats and 23% of all seats in the senate, meaning 23 out of 100 (4). Women first gained the right to vote in 1938 in Uzbekistan (5) and the first woman speaker in Uzbekistan was elected in 2008 (4). There is an electoral quote for women, which states that the number of women must be at least 30% of the total number of candidates in a party (4).
Violence against Women:
There is not much data on gender-based violence in Uzbekistan. The minimum legal age for marriage is now 18 for both men and women (6), while before 2019 women as young as 17 could get married, with the possibility of anticipating this by one year with permission from the head of local administration (7). According to a survey regarding domestic violence in Uzbekistan, more than 10% of men revealed not being opposed to domestic violence and 64.4% of all participants said they thought it was worth preserving a marriage, even after domestic abuse, for the sake of children. About 23.5% of participants of the survey attributed domestic violence to consumption of alcohol and narcotics, while 22.1% named lack of mutual understanding as a reason and 20.6% talked of material hardship (8).
When it comes to health in Uzbekistan, the life expectancy for women is 71.85 years. The maternal mortality rate is 29 per 100,000 births in 2017. The adolescent fertility rate stands at 25 per 1000 girls aged 15 to 19 years in 2020. (9) There was an insufficient coverage of extra-genital disease diagnostics for women, with only 52% of fertile women having access to this. (10)
When it comes to education for women in Uzbekistan, the adult literacy rate is 100% for both men and women in 2019 (9). About 97.1% of girls completed lower secondary school in 2020, compared to 97.9% of boys (9). In 2021 the female enrolment in tertiary education was 20% (11) and 44% of all academic staff in tertiary education were women (12).
Current Law and Policy:
There is no legislation on domestic abuse or gender equality.
In February 2019, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree to improve support for women and the institution of the family. The law was critical of the current state of women’s rights.
In April 2019, Uzbekistan’s Women’s Committee published a draft law designed to prevent sex discrimination. It defines relevant terms and describes mechanisms to protect the rights it establishes and penalties for violating these rights. The decree created a ‘Family’ research centre which aims to strengthen knowledge of issues faced by families and compile lists of low-income households.
In 2018, the Women’s Committee opened a hotline for women who had experienced abuse by which you can contact a doctor, psychologist or lawyer. The committee also opened the first shelters for women. (13)
In 2018, A World Bank report “Women, Business and the Law, 2018” , which analyses attitudes towards women across the world, classed Uzbekistan to have zero points on ‘ protection from domestic violence.”, as Uzbekistan is one of the few countries that lacks legislation on domestic abuse.
A turning point is the “Preventing Domestic Violence” draft legislation in 2018, defining legal definitions of psychological, economic, domestic and other types of violence. Since then, the Women’s Committee in Uzbekistan have published a new draft bill in 2019 against domestic violence, aiming to protect women from harassment or bullying at work and at home. (14)
The Women’s Committee in Uzbekistan previously have opened shelters for domestic abuse victims, a hotline connecting victims to doctors, psychologists or lawyers, and a research centre named “Olia” (“Family”), aimed at strengthening marriages, studying issues of reproductive health, investigating problems faced by modern families and at compiling lists of low income households. (15)
An initiative has been taken also by the president of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, when he signed a decree in 2019 aiming to “fundamentally improve support for women and strengthen the institution of the family”.
As well as that, a social media project, “Speak out”, founded by a human rights defender - Irina Matvienko, which represents an online discussion group on Facebook and Telegram, allow victims to be able to connect online and receive support directly.
· Ne Molchi - https://nemolchi.uz/ - email@example.com
· Frontline Defenders – https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/location/uzbekistan