THE CHANGING RATE OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN KAZAKHSTAN
THE CHANGING RATE OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN KAZAKHSTAN
After achieving the independence of Kazakhstan in 1991, some humanitarian needs are put in the first place at the state level. Indeed, one of the main aims was to decrease the rate of discrimination against women. As the global economy states, gender equality plays a vital role in the metabolism of human capital, which is the major aspect of the well-being of all spheres. According to the historical context of the Kazakh nation, women were considered as keepers of traditions and family hearth, who must support peace in the family. In contrast, men are breadwinners and the head of the family who are also privileged in society. Moreover, gender discrimination against women was in labor force participation and in having access to education. However, by increasing the literacy level in the country and globalization rate, many institutes and female half of the population started questioning equality level.
Analyzing the last 3 decades, it can be defined that there was a significant change in discrimination against women. After signing the UN Millenium declaration in 2000 by Kazakhstan, women achieved the protection of rights and legitimate interests at a notable rate. Nevertheless, compared with the rate of developed countries such as North Korea and Switzerland, there are unsolved problems such as bride abduction and domestic violence. Although there remain problems with discrimination against women in some spheres, and many feminists claiming that there are huge problems connected to this, there is a significant rise in gender equality. First, change in education and specialization indicators, then, change in the realm of a marriage of women and finally, some contradicting aspects will be discussed.
Self-evidently, the rise of education level opens new opportunities in social life making everyone more equal. A person without an education can not be in a trend and challenge his rights in a society, which can negatively impact the conceptual self and interpersonal self of the person. Relying on Tekin (2018), a person who has negative differences from others “loses self-respect because his performance in his job declines; his self-concepts dramatically change as he now considers himself to be unreliable” (7).
So, after identifying the effect of education on persons’ importance in society, it is needed to consider the education rate of women. Nowadays, comprehensive literacy for both women and men is achieved, making women more economically active than before. Asian development bank, during his assessment into gender equality, noted “In 2015, a higher percentage of women (53.8%) aged 18–22 enrolled in higher education compared to men (43.2%). Overall, 55.9% of higher education students are women” (2018:28). In a comparison of 1999th statistics, where the percentage of women who attained at universities made up 13.2% of all women ( Strategy for gender equality … for 2006-2016, 23), it can be seen that the level of education of women changed in a positive manner. As a result, the economically active women made up 50 percent (Asian development bank, 2018:25), which shows that the role of women in society changing. As a result, discrimination against women is decreasing, as they can realize their rights and legitimate interests using the government’s support with law.
Having discussed the rate of change of the discrimination against women in education and specialization spheres, it is necessary to consider the realm of marriage and domestic violence. First of all, before analyzing changes in discrimination against women in the realm of marriage, problems and their consequences should be deliberated. According to our tradition, there are many restrictions that put women as keeping chastity before marriage, dress decently, do not gossip and so one. By tradition, many fairy tales, legends are told to children which teaches them to those restrictions and in some cases gives rise to biased attitudes toward girls among males. Sometimes, such narratives have negative effects on females’ realm of marriage, for instance, in bride abduction or domestic violence cases. Bride abduction is a practice when a man kidnaps a woman to make her his wife. It can occur consensually to speed up the marriage process making it less expensive. The second case connected to discrimination is non-consensual when the bride kidnapped against her will. Paradoxically, they stay in marriages, because of the disgrace and the ignominy of returning home. Conforming to traditional legends, a girl who returns home becomes unblessed. Here we can mention the power of the narratives, as Svoboda (2015) affirms, “Narratives that tell us point-blank who we should be, how we should behave, are better described as dictates or propaganda” (7-8). So first of all, to solve problems with discrimination against women, it is needed to revise legends and fairy-tales that we tell to new generations. However, in the modern world, the rate of abduction is constantly decreasing because of several reasons. The major reason for this is government support and education of women which helps them to protect their rights. As reported by Asian developed bank, “The Criminal Code stipulates 8–10 years of imprisonment for kidnapping (Article 125). However, in cases of bride kidnapping, perpetrators who “voluntarily release the abductee are absolved of criminal responsibility if in this action they did not commit another offense”, so programs as National Committee on Women’s Affairs monitoring to protect women from discrimination against women by making laws more tougher. To prove it with statistics, a report from the Kazakhstan government and gender assessment report of the Asian Development Bank is taken. In 2005 the rate of physical violence acted against women made up 28 percent ( Strategy for gender equality … for 2006-2016, 34), whereas in 2015 it decreased to 16 percent (Asian development bank, 2018:34). Furthermore, in an equal society appearing as a result of education and the right mentality, the self of men also changing. The multitudinous self of men, specifically the interpersonal self is developing, making them act in accordance with the law.
On the other hand, in spite of these positive changes, the problem is remaining. In connection with recent events, the new law signed by the President of Kazakhstan on 19 December of 2019 brought consequences as rallies and heated discussions among women. The new law states that fines for domestic violence are replaced by warnings, as fines often paid by family budget, which affect negatively to women. However, the female half population started worrying about this, confirming that, it will initiate new domestic violence cases. So, one can state that, because of wrong corrections in law, a negative change in discrimination against women will occur. Nonetheless, many forget that administrative detention of perpetrators is not canceled, so, the government after analyzing domestic acts of violence decided to cancel fines. Also, institutions will be constantly monitoring crime actions acted against women after the new law, which shows that government support is strengthening.
Also, some religionists may claim that by Islam men should be in the first place, whereas women should stay at one level lower. The reason for that is the permissibility of government to create any religious sects, which misrepresenting true Islam motives as protecting women and so one. Consequently, some acts against women who try to reach equality in families and in society happen. Many religionists, blindly believing that they are doing everything right in this life as they are true followers of a god, lose their ability to analyze the modern world’s good changes. In this case, we should mention identity fusion, and as Hamblin (2019) states, “...because they have adopted the value system that views the torture as justifiable. Engaged followers do so of their own volition, with enthusiasm”, so because of sects, one can say that the rate of discrimination is raising. However, according to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, psychological harms are also considered as a crime, and programs as “Center for the Social and Psychological Service” are appearing. Also, institutes constantly raise a question about sects.
This paper has argued that despite acts of discrimination as domestic violence and biased attitudes toward women are still remaining, strengthening governmental programs and the rise of literacy level contributing to a decrease in the rate of the problem. The investigation showed that the education level of women is increasing, making them more economically active, which decreasing the rate of discrimination in society. Second up, the governmental support for women is enhancing, having a positive impact on women’s safety in families. Also, considering counter-arguments as religious views, it was defined that, overall the role of the women is constantly changing in a positive manner. A further study could assess the effects of new policies on the discrimination rate and find a solution to solve the remaining problems.
LIST OF USED LITERATURE:
1) Asian Development Bank. (2018). Kazakhstan Country Gender Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/institutional-document/479136/kazakhstan-country-gender-assessment.pdf
2) Hamblin, J. (2019, September 25). The Most Dangerous Way to Lose Yourself. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://moodle.nu.edu.kz/pluginfile.php/189682/mod_resource/content/1/The Most Dangerous Way to Lose Yourself.pdf
3) Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Kazakhstan. (2005). Strategy For Gender Equality In The Republic Of Kazakhstan For 2006-2016. Retrieved from http://www.akorda.kz/upload/nac_komissiya_po_delam_zhenshin/5.2 СГР англ.pdf
4) Svoboda, E. (2015, January 12). The Power of Story. Aeon. Retrieved from https://moodle.nu.edu.kz/pluginfile.php/196123/mod_resource/content/1/The Power of Stories _ Aeon Essays (1).pdf
5) Tekin, S. (2018, January 29). Self-Evident. Aeon. Retrieved from https://moodle.nu.edu.kz/pluginfile.php/189679/mod_resource/content/1/Self-Evident%20_%20Aeon%20Essays.pdf