By Baktybek Kainazarov on August 29, 2018
Coming from a patriarchal society in Central Asia, it is a great challenge to advocate for women’s political participation and gender advancement. When I meet colleagues from governmental institutions and even from civil society organizations, they ask two questions: “Why does the political participation of women matter for our country and is it difficult to advocate for gender advancement while being male?” My simple answer is that I think about the future of my daughter and little sisters who are potentially vulnerable to issues such as underage marriage, bride kidnapping, gender based violence, and girls education.
My interests in gender advancement increased during my PhD research on Central Asian civil society, whereby I investigated the role of women in our society. Five years of research on the civil society sector of the post-Soviet region totally changed my view on gender issues and it gave me a great opportunity to explore cultural and traditional barriers faced by women and adolescent girls across the region. Hence, after my PhD research I committed myself to work in the area of gender equality at the academic and professional level.