Post Soviet Gender Developments in Central Asia

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Title: Post Soviet Gender developments in Central Asia
Author: Minakhi Das
Institution: Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Email: minakhi.jnu@gmail.com
Abstract:-
The development process affects men and women differently. Modernization of agriculture has altered the division of labour between the sexes, increasing women’s dependent status as well as their workload. Women often lose control over resources such as land and are generally excluded from access to new technology. Due to technological breakthroughs, the role of women in the new international division of labour has become vital as the world economy has assumed truly global proportions. Women in the Third World now carry a double or even triple burden of work as they cope with housework, childcare and subsistence food production, in addition to an expanding involvement in paid employment. Everywhere women work longer hours than men. How women cope with declining status, heavier work burdens and growing impoverishment is crucial to the success of development policies in the Third World.

The legacy of decades of Soviet rule still affects the development of the five countries that comprise the Central Asian Republics (CAR) – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Unlike some other countries of the Former Soviet Union (FSU), the Central Asian countries did not achieve independence through a broad-based movement with democratic leaders. The transition period since independence in 1991 has been marked by social and economic difficulties as well as political stagnation with dynastic leadership structures in most countries.

Soviet rule brought about dramatic socio-political changes which included emancipation of women. Women were freed from the strict religious laws and practices to which they were subjected to, granted equality before law, afforded opportunities for education, and conditions created for them to join the workforce. These steps of the Soviet government enabled the emergence of an educated and skilled female workforce. In the post-Soviet era, while the newly independent states are busy in establishing democratic societies and introducing market economy, the attention paid to women and the status enjoyed by them differ from one state to another. The Central Asian government had to contend with contradictory policies of continuing the Soviet legacy of promoting women’s equality on the one hand and promoting national culture, which on the other hand, accorded women the status of a home maker and mother.

All the Central Asian states have taken steps to strengthen their transition to market economy, they are at various stages of privatization. Difficult times have revived traditional institutions like kinship, clan and tribal ones for daily survival as well as social mobility. Among the other consequences of the market driven transition has been a certain “re-traditionalization”, evident in such domains as the use of public space and the regulation concerning women. Keywords: Emancipation of women, Feminization of work, Gender Development Index, Socio-economic-political Participation. Introduction:-

Since declaring independence from Soviet Union in 1991, the republic of Central Asia has under gone major social, political and economic transition. The transition to democracy, privatization and free market economy has opened Central Asians to many opportunities including integration in to the global economy, which were not available under Soviets. In the political ideological shift that followed independence, there was an immediate distance from the recent Soviet past and a move towards a hopeful democratic present. In this democratic breakup of the Soviet Union, women were not visible. The economic structure and economic policies, the transition to market societies or capitalist development, geo strategic vision and relation with Russia and CIS devolution of socio economic structures and impact of these policies on the...
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