Changing Gender Attitudes Is Important for Achieving Gender Equality in Azerbaijan
Tuesday, October 2, 2007 3:36 PM

In its 2007 Azerbaijan Human Development Report, the State Committee for Family, Women, and Children’s Issues of the Republic of Azerbaijan presents findings of an independent gender attitudes survey conducted in November 2005.  The survey was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded in part by the Government of Norway. 

The Report concludes that while equal rights for women and men are guaranteed under the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, a recently passed Law on Gender Equality, and ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), gender disparities persist in social life, politics and the economy largely due to existing gender attitudes (de jure and de facto).  The findings are grouped into the following categories:  Employment and living conditions, education, health, family and marriage, violence, and social life.

The transition to a market economy and problems such as high unemployment, low-income jobs, and decreasing living standards result in a severe economic crisis for men and women.  Women are unemployed to a larger extent than men.  Women occupy “feminized professions,” where they remain in lower job categories then men.  Women are subordinated to men with regard to decisions affecting their reproductive health.  Gender stereotypes concerning the role of men as breadwinners and women as homemakers persist as the “ideal” in family life.  Domestic violence is the most common type of violence against women in Azerbaijan, and women do not often report such violence to authorities because they do not know they have a right to report, do not trust the authorities, or face social pressure not to report.  Political decision-making tends to be the domain of men.  Women’s share of elected members of Parliament is 11.2%, and of judges is 14%.  Women are under-represented in private sector management positions and are concentrated at lower levels of management.  The survey concludes that inequalities often due to negative attitudes and stereotypes which have their source in private life and inter-personal relations.

Finally, the Report presents a set of recommendations aimed to stimulate debate and encourage policy action for the attainment of gender balance in all spheres of political, economic and social life in the country.

Compiled from:  "Changing Gender Attitudes is the Key to the Achievement of Gender Equality in Azerbaijan," United Nations Development Programme, 10 September, 2007.