2.2. Women’s Political Participation in the Republic of Kazakhstan
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structure is formed by the election procedure or by giving plenary powers to the
officials. This is done via voting process of authorized persons and is based on
the condition that per each presented mandate two or more candidates may claim.
Election procedure forms different boards of public power – parliament, heads
of states, sometimes governments or local municipal councils.
elections are the very mechanism with the help of which representation of social
groups or citizens may be gained. While electoral campaign the populace chooses
its representatives and mandates them to give effect to their sovereign rights.
This time the elections do not estrange the populace sovereignty due to the fact
that representatives have the only right – to realize the existing sovereignty
on the territory of the country in the Constitution frames.
throughout the Globe investigate the problem of increasing the governmental
structures effective work but little attention is paid to staff gender though
this very factor influences greatly effectiveness or their work efforts and
really is one of the main features.
present the processes of role distribution between men and women influence
political and governmental spheres, the latter are understood as self-governing
public institution. Men’s exclusive prerogative to be elected into the
corridors of power is limited by females providing themselves an access to the
Institutions of power and the right for active participation in the political
modernization occurred as the result of feminist persistent actions in the USA
and West Europe and also due to general democratic changes. A woman became not
only the object of politics, important element of electorate and addressee of
state program specific actions but an active and influential participant of the
political process itself and governmental running.
many countries of the Globe and not only in the democratically developed a great
quantity of women appeared at the political stage providing by this the radical
movement of all women problems spectra: from legal provision quality up to real
changes in the economy sphere, social institutions and other public processes.
1970-s the subject of women’s intensive participation in the political issues
became investigating problem number one in the West. That was due to the fact
that political issues are the sphere of prominent gender restrictions where the
set of different social-gender roles has maximum contradictions. If
cultural-historic tradition oriented women to private (family) sphere of life,
and men to social (public), then politics is that pole of public life to where
women are strictly limited to enter. And in case women appear on the political
arena they are often limited by marginal positions and represent in the
political life “women’ roles”, not very prestigious and valid.
the feminist movement the situation is sharply changed in the West. The reason:
women fight for the possibility to enter public spheres. And this factor demands
legal possibilities and changing thoughts concerning gender roles. Not only the
movement itself became a political subject but also it created new possibilities
for women to participate in the institutional politics. And though up to now the
represented number of men in politics is higher, the situation changes
drastically. More and more countries start the positive actions politics
including the quota and strategy system. They work out the training programs for
women-leaders, and make definite steps to provide a valid equality between men
at the same time a whole set of factors – the absence of human and financial
resources for political career training, not good responsibility of officials
who are to support the sex equalities and women’ participation in social life
– don’t permit to put programs into practice and to realize the initiatives
aimed at increasing women’s participation in decision adoption.
importance and great effect of women participating in political life is
conformed by scientists’ point of view, which in its turn is based on the
results of a number of researchers. Thus Kyrgyz researcher Svetlana Osaulenko
supposes “women’s role in politics is a bit different. They insert to the
political life the feeling of family protection, the absence of confrontation,
stability and balance /94/.”
Buldekpaeva keeps the same position: “Women’s participation in managing at
all levels is a stabilizing factor. There where women’s member in governing
structures is 30-40% the society’s development is stable and it is socially
well-known Russian researcher Nadezhda Shvedova having conducted a wide range of
gender research sticks to the opinion that “ women introduce new elements in
political culture because they initiate gender concern. It means: a) the society
has men’s and women’s populace interests. And phenomena occurring in the
society cause unequal reactions of men and women; b) women produce initiatives
which are close to them. In its turn women interests transform in to state
political courses; c) it is easier to come into contact with parliament via
to the fact that the majority of women became members of Parliament being
elected via lower level public organizations or they work until being promoted
in local power structures, the public may reach access to bill and law
introducing via such women-members of Parliament /96/.
may observe relatively slow but stable tendency to the increasing number of
women in the highest legislative body in the world. Overseas researchers try to
answer the question “Why the number of women is limited in the Parliament?”
and explain this by many factors: historical, political, social, cultural,
ideological, by religious background of definite country’s life and also by
peculiarities of institutional systems, election culture, mechanisms
specifically invented to ease women’s access to Parliament, the dynamic grows
of civil society and others.
historic experience certifies any attempt made by women to exercise a new social
role all the time is accompanied by different degree of disapproval on the side
of conservative men’s part of society, who think it be infringement on their
right and are afraid of losing their usual privileges. We witnessed this process
when women struggled for the right to be educated, to work and to participate in
elections. The same process when women reached the political handles of
touching upon the whole set of factors which are obstacles on women’s way to
Parliament, Russian politologist Nadezhda Shvedova draws the readers’
attention to the aspect which is poorly discussed at scientific circles. It is
the nature of electoral system. According to the research summary, the type of
electoral system taking into consideration the historic moment of development,
national and cultural peculiarities may be positive or negative for
aspect, being under research of overseas and domestic scientists is the problem
connected with the level of women’s representation in authority power bodies
and their social-economic life. Conducting a number of researches analytics
investigating this problem came to a conclusion that this leads to the narrowing
of possibilities for social group interests articulation, connected with
striking majority of women in budget spheres such as education, Medicare,
municipal service, etc., and that the process of narrowing the canals for
representative democracy due to sex is base of conflicts in different group
interests correlation. Also, “antigender” attitude in political
representation is a part of social-political processes revealing discrimination
increase in sex gender practice, the decreasing of social-economic women
politologists made significant scientific researches, “i.e. different social
group interests correlation, including sex are condition of democratic
have got one more important summary made by researchers: “Women are absolutely
necessary in wide powers cause they are objectively the catalysts of changes. In
other words women must go to power governmental structures because their being
there is objective urgent condition for better women populace situation in the
society in the whole and it means the same for every woman” /100/.
watch the same process in Kazakhstan when the number of women is constantly
decreasing in the Parliament despite active and conscious participation of women
at last elections of 1999.
to the result of enforcing the presidential-executive power Parliament lost the
majority of its power potentials after having received the status of highest
legislative body of power. Taking into consideration that in our country supreme
sovereign power of law is not always legal, and this is due to a number of
executive power bodies we may come to a conclusion that democratic institutions
in Kazakhstan still have no real power. And it means that even sharp increase of
women representation in Parliament and maslikhats will never yield to women the
equal with men authority power. The problem of women participating in politics
should be solved more widely using possibilities of women appointment into the
executive power bodies – which is the most corrupted and closed system of
in Kazakh SSR up to 1989 due to quota system women comprised not less then 35%
of Republic Supreme Council, then in 1991 that correlation dropped to 7% and
later for a short time being increased to 15% in 1995 and again dropped to 11%
is women while the years of sovereignty despite proclaimed democratic reforms
did not receive the access to wide powers. One may assume that general electoral
lethargy made an impact at women’s activity as candidates to deputy corps. The
voters were also passive. Also, due to national mentality in our country
stereotypes are still exist based on sex and gender. Thus the number of women in
Kazakhstan is a bit more then men (51,8%) but possessing the same with men
voting rights they gave votes to men not to women. That’s one of the reasons
of so low women representation at State and government plenary powers.
to Article 33 Republic of Kazakhstan Constitution “ Republic of Kazakhstan
Constitution has the right to participate in governing the state affairs
ingeniously and via its representatives, … to elect and to be elected into the
state body and local self-governing municipal councils, have the equal right to
equal access to state service” /101/. But Republic of Kazakhstan Constitution
has no references at discrimination of women”. Though international agreements
in the field of human rights signed by Kazakhstan have priorities comparing to
domestic legal rights, additional measures should be adopted concerning the
perfection of existing laws and also elaborating and adoption on new social laws
aimed at sex discrimination struggle.
accordance to “Convention canceling all discrimination forms related to
women” (the so-called “Women Convention”) adopted by the general Assembly
UN Organization in 1979 and ratified by Kazakhstan on June 26, 1998 “the
states-participants acquire all correlating measures to cancel discrimination
related to women in political and social state life and in particular provide
women with equal to men rights: a) to vote at all elections and public
referendums and to be elected into all publicly elected organs; b) to
participate in the forming and putting into life governmental policy and occupy
the State positions and also to implement all state functions at all levels of
state governing; c) to participate in non-governmental activities in different
organizations and associations occupied with country’s public political life
Constitution and Kazakhstani legal status support with equal rights all their
citizens despite sex and age. The State provides men and women with equal rights
and possibilities for men and women at their nomination for the election at
Republic of Kazakhstan Presidential Post, into Parliament, Maslihats and other
governmental power boards. Constitutional law “About election in the Republic of Kazakhstan” is the
warranty for all citizens in our country to participate in the elections after
the age of 18 not depending upon origin, social occupied position and private
property possessions, sex, race, nationality, language, attitude to religion,
persuasions, place of living and any other circumstances. But Kazakhstan has no
special measures aimed at acceleration to establish actually the real equality
between men and women. Constitutional equality guaranties are said to be enough.
for the human rights Kazakhstan joined to 30 international treaties and
conventions, UN convention concerning women’s right is among those joint
“About prohibiting of all discrimination form concerning women”, “ About
women’s political rights”, “About citizenship of married women”.
all measures adopted by the state the sociological questionnaire results made by
politologists and sociologists Association,
“out of 1000 questionnaired women only about 5% know that Convention
about prohibiting of all discrimination forms concerning women (the so-called
Women Convention is in use). Not more then 2,2% are aware that this convention
was signed by Kazakhstan” /103/.
present new laws are being worked out “About equal rights and
possibilities”, “About Children’s Rights”, “About Family Abusement”,
the sign of recognition “the leader’s great services in the matter of
improving the gender equality problems at international and national layers”
Kazakhstan is awarded with memorial medal “Women who make difference”,
issued by International non-governmental organization “Women Status
Committee”. Despite Kazakhstan such countries as Finland, Austria, and
Liechtenstein also became prizewinners /104/.
accordance with the demands of Article 2 from Geneva Convention “about
annihilating laws which discriminate women” the national legal status is under
gender expertise aiming at family and women interests lobbying is being held at
RK Parliament and a special group of deputies “Otbasy” (“Family”)
gathered 23 deputies from both chambers. Under deputies’ initiatives at
present a law about equal rights and possibilities is being worked out.
this at Parliament subcommittee on women’s affairs is created connected with
women affairs, families, youth, tourism and sport, and a woman is the leader.
For the first time in Kazakhstani history a new article was included into the
indicative plan of country’s social-economic development for 2001. That
passage is entitled “Women’s participation in Development” and it will be
preserved in the governmental 5-year plan per 2001-2005.
think that results of the mentioned above sociological questionnaire are very
interesting. The data certifies that “out of 1000 inquested women only 1,6%
consider that they have equal with men rights to participate in governing the
state affairs, 4,4% - the right to be appointed to higher leading positions at
the state service, 6,5% - the right to be elected in representative bodies, 9,5%
- the right to work in state structures”/105/.
the results of the first questionnaire display that the overwhelming majority of
respondents agree “to women role be ordinary electorate (91,1 %)” /106/.
RK Presidential and Agency of State Affairs service National Committee of family
and women affairs activity is aimed at providing equal women’s access to
legislative power body. But at practice, the women’s share in power body at
present is lower than at recent past. Women’s representativity at all levels
of power is extreme low. Women-specialists with higher and secondary education
obviously prevail in wide representation at state managing boards (more than
40%), but their part among the first leaders is obscure – less than 9%.
the directors of the departments women’s share comprises 15%. There are no
women among oblast akims (governors) and only one woman is appointed as akim of
a city. There are only three women in the Republic of Kazakhstan Government:
Minister of Labor and Social Defense, Minister of Education and Science and
Minister without a department – the National Committee of family and women’s
affairs Chairman. Four women head the state committees and agencies, 10 women
are vice-ministers, oblast akim deputies. A woman is appointed as President of
National Academy of Science in the Republic of Kazakhstan /107/.
In 1997 among the first leaders and their deputies at local state bodies
women comprise 24,5% /108/.
level of political representation of women is also observed at the layer of
political posts, i.e. appointed by the Republic of Kazakhstan President;
appointed and elected by RK Parliamentary Chambers and their Chairmen; being
according to Constitution the President and Governmental representatives;
heading the control executive bodies and boards and their deputies.
1.10.2000 the women’s share in the RK state staff who occupies political posts
was 248 persons (or 8,4%), and out of the general number of Kazakhstani State
staff 32645 persons (54%) /109/.
the judicial system out of 1866 judges 917 are women, out of 48 members of the
RK Supreme Court – 14 women, the Supreme Court chairman deputy is in their
number, 8,5% out of Court Chairmen Board number.
RK Parliament women’s presence (data of 2000) comprise 11,3% (13 women of 115
deputies), in Senate – 13,2% (5 out of 38), in Mazhlis – 10,4% (8 out of
77), and three out of six women in Senate were introduced according to
Presidential list /110/. By the way in connection with one of woman-senator
leaving at the end of 2001 for the State service, the percentage of women
representation at the Parliament became lower (10,4%).
at maslikhats comprise the minority, the following data reflecting the general
tendency in this sphere certifies: at Karaganda oblast – at regional
maslikhats – 19 women out of 162 deputies (11,7%), in oblast – 3 out of 43
(7%), in Mangistau oblast correlatively 7 out of 63 (11,1%), 3 out of 30 (10%);
in Akmolinskaya oblast 33 out of 181 (18,2%), 9 out of 36 (25%); in Kyzylorda
oblast 6 out of 25 (24%), 23 out of 141 (16,3%); in Zhambyl oblast 22 out of 44
(15,3%), 5 out of 35 (14,3%) /111/.
in a number of regions despite relatively low level of women’s political
representation according to the results of previous elections the certain
increase of the given data occurred. For example, “in North Kazakhstan oblast
out of registered deputy candidates to oblast maslikhat 14 women, 6 of them
became deputies (43%), to town maslikhat out 8 women – 6 (75%) are elected
deputies and in regional maslikhats correlatively 32 women (68%) of the
registered candidates number. It allows increasing the number of women
representation at oblast, town and regional maslikhats per one and a half. Their
number was 19,4%, 31,6% and 38% corresponding to general amount of present
this very period the women representation increased in the boards of judicial
branch. At town and regional courts of North Kazakhstani oblast the judge
position is occupied by 45 women or 47% of general staff. Two women are chairmen
at the courts.
increase of political women’s activity in the region is certified by the
growing number of women in executive branches of power, at the level of decision
adoption as well. According to Statistic Board data in the North Kazakhstani
oblast the RK Statistic Agency at present in different state organs the number
of administrative state staff is 1405 out of them 816 women (58%) and that is
higher than in the last year per 3%. The share of women who are working at
leading administrative positions is stable and high. Thus, among 14 town and
rayon's akims deputies on social issues 9 women (64%), and out of 14 leading
akim staff 6 women (42,8%).
the leaders in independent state organs of towns and oblast districts women
comprise 23,2%, among other oblast boards leaders – 25%, among their deputies
– 44%. Among the department chiefs at oblast boards – 57% of women.
system of hiring to the state service as it was mentioned already gave women the
possibility to actively participate at the competition for occupying vacant
administrative state posts. During the current year 415 participated (32% out of
general number), passed the competitive selection 402 women (60%).
the last year a positive tendency of increasing the number of women in akim
rural districts and villages was marked. If in 2000 20 women have been working
at these boards (10%), then at present they are 29 (14,5%). One woman is akim of
large rural region” /112/.
even insignificant increase of women’s participation in definite RK oblasts
demonstrates only relative success. And in present situation as the form of
transitive mechanism it’s necessary to introduce quota method for women’s
participation in the election process. In October 1999 at Mazhlis elections were
500 competitors and the number of women – 89 (17,8% out of the deputy’s
quantity). The deputy mandate got only 8 (or 10,4 % of Mazhlis staff).
interpretation of preelectoral campaign results certifies “20,7% of
respondents are aware of the fact that women were prosecuted by political motifs
at the places of their living. More than 70 women pointed out that they
personally got warnings and threats to violate for the participation in
social-political activity on the side of internal ministry structures and busy
officials from akimats. 27 women were under subjection of criminal and
administrative punishment on political motifs /113/.
the help of empirical data it was established that the number of women whose
election rights were violated during the presidential election campaign ranged
from 0% at rural Kokshetau district (Kenesary village) up to 22,6% in Uralsk;
during the Parliamentary elections from 0% at Kenesary village up to 19,2% in
authors of investigation think that at present it’s necessary to research the
problem of women quota introduction at political institutions and executive
mandate electoral system as it was shown in the first chapter far not of being
neutral in its influence to women political representation. Also according to
Central Asian agency of political investigations analysis “the violation of
election legal status in Kazakhstan during the voting process and counting of
voices became traditional”. /115/. Obviously the voting process is not
transparent and equally just to candidates-men and candidates-women. The
interfering while election process and even before the elections on the part of
executive power became a norm as great number of women participating in October
1999 elections stated. According to the data of the mentioned above sociological
questionnaire conducted by “Kazakhstani women”: 22,2% of women junked with
obstacles made by akimats; 27% - with ministry of internal affairs; 8% - with
fiscal organs; 3,2% - with election campaign committees; 9,5% pointed other
is no joint state politics in achieving paritet representation at appointed and
elected posts, every state structure settles the problem on their own. The RK
Presidential National committee of family and women established in December,
1998 and given great proxy in National plan on making better the position of
women in Kazakhstan has a task to expand women’s representation in the State
governing and helps to settle this task. However, not having independent budget
and respectable executive board, Committee is obliged to keep a constant
control, on the activity of other state organs in this direction and influence
only via hearings of ministry leaders and other boards at their meetings, via
collaboration with women’s non-governmental organizations, international
organizations and mass media.
highest-level appointments (Prime-ministers, the National Bank Chairman, General
Procurator, etc) are made by President on the base of Parliamentary agreement.
However the process of vacating these posts is done without President’s
Republic of Kazakhstan President out of seven Senate deputies of the first
convocation (1995-1999) whom be appointed according to RK Constitution selected
4 women. In 1999 President appointed 3 women in the frames of his quota. If it
had not been this fact then the quantity of women in the Parliament would be
even low than present 11%. The situation demanded quota method introducing for
women’s participation in the process of elections. All in all the number of
women in both Parliament chambers is 13. As a result of maslikhat elections 639
women became deputies or actually half of the registered candidates.
2000 a new model of appointing to the state service is acting. It is based on
the principles of equality rights per every Kazakhstani citizen to the State
service access and gives the possibility to occupy higher posts according to
their capabilities and professional education.
2000 in general amount of candidates per vacant position 50% were women. 4,2
thousand women became the winners of the competitions or 50% of all
participants. 419 women were taken to employees’ reserve, which is half of
this according to President decision at ministries and departments and also in
oblasts the reserve of women was made for appointing them on the level of
adopting decisions. At present the general number of all state office employees
in Kazakhstan comprises 60,5 thousand persons out of which 33 thousand women,
which is equal to 54%. The women’s share among the office employees per all
layers of the state governing is more than 40%. Three women are Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of our country in other states: France, Israel
and also constant representatives of Kazakhstan in UN Organization /117/.
to non-governmental leaders “Discrimination in women’s position in
Kazakhstan is not so obvious as in other countries of Central Asia or Islamic
East. But the problem of women in our Republic has specific features and this is
embodied in vague definition. In the conversations about equal men and women
political rights the secret sly logic is hidden. It’s like this: the so-called
equality of sex became a new form of women’s discrimination and it distinctly
displays itself at political market. The vivid example – sphere of State power
and governing. During last years the norm of women representation in executive
and legislative branches decayed. Women remain to be media of fewer
political-rights guarants. And it is high time to discuss the problem of quota
for women to participate in political institutions.
in the Republic displayed extremely low level of right consciousness and
women’s political and legal culture. The direction for having political rights
and freedoms in women’s media is limited in scale of spreading and is an
exclusion rather than rule. But Kazakhstani women don’t struggle for female
politics. Even in their radical demands they are sound minded. What they do
really wish – to return law command /118/.
it follows from analysis of political situation presented by ÖÀÀÏÈ
no workability and violating of existing legal procedure is the great problem in
Kazakhstan. Great number of laws is not executed and violated due to different
reasons. In general the violators are state official employees who escape very
easily the responsibility for violating the laws; … the imperfect legal system
also helps the fact that very often the creation of law is determined by
different groups activities providing the lobbying of their interests. And as a
result the adopted laws very often have no uniform strategy and don’t take
into consideration the national general interests. Also due to the fact that
State is out of the society’s control, the powerful circles are not interested
in execution of laws. More than this they even don’t make attempts to support
the authority of law in the society. While this the state boards adopted
paramount number of decrees, directions, bureaucratic inner-department acts
which very often contradict to Constitution and legal status” /119/.
realize the defense of women’s rights and potential of great number of women
in such condition is hardly attainable.
general women’s mass in Kazakhstan don’t have the possibility to influence
on problem of their everyday existence settling but women are deprived of the
right to express openly their opinion about events happening in the country. The
wide attraction of women into the process of discussing the key political
problems with the help of questionnaires, publishing the results in mass media
will let the increase of women informativity in the current events, it will
restore their interest to public sphere activity” /120/.
to RK National Statistic agency the total number of voters in our country in
June 1999 comprised 8358450 citizens /121/.
RK Presidential election gathered 87% of voters. The central electoral
commission never did statistics on women-voters. According to general estimation
of non-governmental organization “Feminist League” – women comprise –
53% of voters. In accordance with movement “Kazakhstani women” approximately
3/4 of women participated in the Presidential election and
a bit more than 2/3 Parliamentary elections /122/. That is there is definite
estimation of women participating in election if to compare with men’s, not
speaking about the adopted in western countries constant questionnaires during
elections and consequently the gender analysis of electorate behavior.
the lack of current sociological research of women’s electorate behavior in
the State does not produce any possibility to follow the dynamics of political
preferentials of women and also does not help the political changes into wider
and better participation of women in political processes.
the global experience we may suppose that the increase of women-representative
in RK Parliament will be reflected upon the quality of laws in Parliament and
correlatively on living conditions of Republic’s populace.
stable and permanent state-institutional and legal-rights country’s
development is possible only in case of checked and balanced heterogeneous
political system interests. The presence of optimal political instruments and
erasing the contradictions via institutional power structures and legal
mechanisms are the most important conditions of democratic state existence.
balanced, checked and unconflict political model is such a state system which as
on institutional-legal and as on the functional-procedure level is able to
flexible reaction at time challenges and balance and regulate the existing
contradiction. The presented state-political system provides the mechanism of
checks and balances, demonopolization of political process and in optimal forms
balance heterogeneous civil society interests” /123/.
introduction of checked and balanced gender politics, considering women’s
interests will permit to stabilize political processes in Kazakhstan, the
adoption of preventive measures, special laws aimed at elimination of women
discrimination and increasing the number of women in representative power boards
and will not give the future social-political cataclysms.
of these factors is sticking to democratic norms of men and women representation
in this political body. Parliaments in developed democratic states have
mechanisms of adopting the laws, which are after women’s interests.
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