UNDP Around the world

Voices from Eurasia

Gender equality

Being intersex is hard, our silence makes it harder

07 Apr 2017 by Seda Karaca and John Macauley

The global silence around intersex lives reflects negatively on the mental health of intersex individuals and communities. A few weeks ago, during our sub-regional dialogue on #BeingLGBTI, we met Kris, an intersex and a trans person and an activist from Serbia, working actively on LGBTI rights issues. Kris has an intimate understanding of issues faced by intersex people and their families both through his personal experiences and professional work. One of the biggest obstacles for Kris has been to find people who are not traumatized enough to open up and talk about their experiences. In Kristian’s experience, there have been virtually no social support groups that would help him and other intersex individuals feel less isolated. That’s why these days he is part of an organisation providing support for LGBTI people. … Read more

One solution can "feed" multiple benefits

29 Dec 2016 by Snezana Mircevska Damjanovska, Project Officer, UNDP in fYR Macedonia

preparing foodWomen prepare food for a soup kitchen in a kindergarten in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Photo: Tomislav Georgiev / UNDP fYR Macedonia
Early every morning in the southern town of Demir Kapija, 15 people on social welfare arrive at the soup kitchen that has been established in a local kindergarten to pick up prepared meals, including warm pies and traditional stews. On Fridays they receive packages to help them get through the weekend. One 70-year-old grandfather comes every day to collect meals for himself and his wife. “At first it was a bit uncomfortable collecting food because it’s a small town and we all know each other,” he says. “But poverty makes you forget about shame. And at least in this way we are not a burden on our children.” The local kindergarten hired two kitchen assistants from amongst local unemployed people to help prepare food for the needy. The soup kitchen has enabled the kindergarten to welcome more pupils, while also helping local people on social welfare by providing them with free hot meals. … Read more

In Kyrgyzstan, a new law protects girls against early marriage

25 Nov 2016 by Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, Chief Technical Advisor on Rule of Law

In only the first five months of this year, 49 children committed suicide in Kyrgyzstan. A helpline set up to assist children saw 476 cases. Too many young people in Kyrgyzstan feel hopeless and try to end their lives. In many cases, suicides of girls are prompted by sexual violence and the so-called local practice of “bride kidnapping.” The numbers are staggering: The latest study on a state-representative survey showed that 38 percent of Kyrgyz women married through such a practice. This averages 32 bride kidnapping a day, with 40 percent of them including rape. Nearly 14 percent of women currently aged 25 to 49 in Kyrgyzstan report having married by age 18. … Read more

Can women lead the global fight against corruption?

14 Nov 2016 by Shqipe Neziri Vela and Blerim Vela

kosovo-women-coding-course-anticorruption-gender-equalitySource: Girls Coding Kosova Facebook Page
When it comes to addressing corruption globally, there’s a lack of using gender-sensitive approaches. In recent years, we at UNDP in Kosovo* have carried out assessments on the impact of corruption on women and men. Most of this research proved that corruption is not gender neutral. That is to say, women experience corruption differently than men, which can limit their access to public services. At the same time, our studies have also shown women to be better at identifying corruption practices and more likely to find them unacceptable. But are women actually any less corrupt than men? … Read more

“I’m Not Afraid to Tell”: How Kazakh women are breaking the silence on gender-based violence

25 Jul 2016 by Dina Teltayeva, Communication Associate, UNDP Kazakhstan

Over the past few months, I’ve witnessed as women in Kazakhstan break their silence on sexual violence. A campaign titled #ЯнеБоюсьСказать (I’m not afraid to tell) и НеМолчи (Don’t keep Quiet) has led to many women sharing their stories. One of them is Dina Tansari (pictured), a well-known TV producer. … Read more

A Call to Action: Stop “Bride Kidnapping"

26 Feb 2015 by Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, Chief Technical Advisor on Rule of Law, UNDP Kyrgyzstan

Although local activists continue their efforts to stop the tradition of bride kidnapping, more work is needed to make a difference.
One of the less pleasant things associated with Kyrgyzstan is the cruel tradition of “bride kidnapping”. Recent research from local NGOs show that at least fifty percent of the marriages in the country involve elements of this ritual. Essentially, “bride kidnapping” is the ritual of ambushing a young woman and detaining her until she agrees to marry her kidnapper. In the best-case scenario, she is subject to enormous psychological pressure and brainwash from female relatives of the kidnapper to accept the marriage; the rest of the time, she is a subject of rape. I read a lot of sad stories about this tradition, most of which consist of cultural justifications based on the poor economic situation of Kyrgyzstan. But perhaps the most striking story of all is the direct account of a dark-eyed young woman who I will call Roza. … Read more

A ‘bad girl’ no longer: Tackling gender inequality in Azerbaijan

17 Apr 2014 by Ruslan Ismayil-zada, Communication Officer, UNDP Azerbaijan

After completing a course in entrepreneurship at the UNDP-supported Women’s Resource Centre, Rena Mehraliyeva opened a successful wedding and event-planning business. Photo: UNDP Azerbaijan
In Azerbaijan, especially in rural areas, there exists a very powerful term for women who don’t follow the rules: ‘pis giz’, which translates to ‘bad girl’. For an Azerbaijani woman, being called a “pis giz” is more than just a gender slur. It can mean the total loss of respect in her community, ineligibility for marriage, and the end of a once-bright future. Unfortunately, it is very easy to become a target for this derogatory term: the simple act of being seen in an internet cafe or participating in public events is all it takes. As a consequence, access to public places for many rural women is limited. However, things are starting to change. In the small rural city of Sabirabad, the region’s first women’s resource centre has recently opened its doors. A joint project between UNDP in Azerbaijan and local government, the centre offers a safe public space so many rural Azerbaijani women have long been denied. … Read more

Roma women: Exposing inequality

19 Feb 2014 by Jaroslav Kling, Roma Inclusion Policy Analyst, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Photo: Dorin Goian/UNDP Moldova
Since its early days, the Decade of Roma Inclusion has focused primarily on four priority areas: employment, education, health and housing. Even though gender equality is a cross-cutting issue, attention to this area has been significantly smaller throughout the years. Usually, gender equality is treated as an isolated category, rather than a social factor that is a part of all social categories and issues. In recent years, the interest in interaction between ethnicity and gender has grown. All regional surveys that UNDP conducted in Central and Eastern Europe targeting marginalized Roma (2002, 2004, 2011) produced data which allow for basic disaggregation by sex - allowing for analyzing how ethnicity interacts with gender. … Read more

Gender inequality: How much does it affect development in Europe and Central Asia?

01 Jul 2013 by Barbora Galvankova, UNDP Eurasia

Inequality between women and men has been clearly identified as one of the causes blocking development over the last two decades. It is often difficult to establish evidence based causal links between impacts of gender inequality on a country's development because of the lack of available sex-disaggregated data. And because of limited data, we also can’t capture the complexity of gender inequality in different contexts. One way to measure gender inequality is to look at the differences for women and men in areas such as education, health, decision making and access to economic opportunities. Analysis based on quantitative data reveals that considerable progress has been made in terms of women’s access to education and healthcare in the region. (see attached data below) However, this level of analysis doesn’t show how gender inequality influences policies. This is why we decided to dig deeper. … Read more

All are equal before the law but is the law equal to everyone?

29 Apr 2013 by Emira Shkurti, UNDP Albania

Students in Albania are united against gender based violence. Photo: UNDP Albania
“Yes!” says the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Yes!” says the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. “Yes!” says the Constitution of the Republic of Albania and an array of international instruments Albania has ratified. But what do women and women’s organizations say? … Read more