Tuesday, October 12

Azerbaijan ranks 100 out of 134 countries on Global Gender Gap 2010

World Economic Forum, released its 2010 Global Gender Gap report. According to the report, Azerbaijan ranks 100, dropping some 40 places over the last four years, perhaps finally getting to the right ranking after all these years. 

However, officials, like Jale Aliyeva, who is also among few female parliamentary representatives believes that the drop in ranking has to do with one- sided approach (whatever thats supposed to mean). Adding that, women's role increased in social political spheres. Its enough to look at women's participation in municipal elections- it increased seven fold. According to Ms. Aliyeva, there are also many female candidates running for the parliamentary elections (scheduled November 7th). 

What Ms. Aliyeva omits to say is that municipalities in Azerbaijan hold no value in regional governance. Nor do they do much work apart from collecting land tax. In fact, the only reason why Azerbaijan established municipalities back in 1999 was because of requirement put forward by the Council of Europe. They employ small number of people and survive by revenues received from selling and renting land and state subsidies. So women's participation and increased number mean very little. 

And as it can be seen from the table, Azerbaijan ranks 113 in political empowerment so I wonder where are those increased numbers that Ms. Aliyeva is talking about. 

Education is another sore spot. In fact, it is perhaps the worst. According to the Index, Azerbaijan ranks 93rd overall. 
Azerbaijan did manage to get in the rank of countries with Upper Middle Income (3,946- 12, 195USD) with a minimum salary and pension of 85EUR. An interesting fact...

Of course, there are myriad of reasons why Azerbaijan's performance dropped on an international scale. There is a law on gender equality but no one pays attention to it. There is still no law on domestic violence. Patriarchal values and traditions persist with girls taken out of schools or not allowed to continue with higher education due to marriage and obligations to their new families. Early marriage is another problem still wide- spread and most importantly women still do not know much of their rights, which remains a pressing issue all across the country.

These existing conditions will remain, so long as nothing is done on government levels. First thing first, the State Committee on Family, Women and Children Issues must present itself as credible institution because to this day, it is regarded as a joke, a place for women to gather, hold conferences, do training  on don't know what, meet, and still nor produce any tangible results. No one takes it seriously, perhaps its time some one does...

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