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“Gender and Party Politics”
name, position: Chikalova
Irina Romualdovna, Doctor in History, Professor, History Department,
Belarus State Pedagogical University
1. What in your opinion have you and your
Fellow/program/project gained from your
cooperation thus far?
have been invited to serve as a mentor for Galiya Khassanova’s continuing
project quite recently. From my
side I try to help to Galiya Khassanova to integrate gender based analysis
methodology into research writing, into understanding the general problems of
intersection of gender and party politics. I am working on sharing with her my
knowledge on integration of gender equality politics into the party politics in
some countries including the USA, Great Britain, the North-European countries.
My recently published book on this subject will be of great help in the kind of
research that Galiya is doing.
2. Do certain areas of this Fellow’s work need improvement?
Galiya Khassanova has successfully completed the first stage of the
project “Gender and Party
Politics”. At this stage Galiya has made the focus on
Kazakhstan’s political institutions; and this is also one of the project
tasks. To ensure the progress of the research Galiya has examined precisely the
“Otan” party, “Vozrozdenie Kazakhstana”, and some others
parties’ Charters and Rules in terms of the nominations of candidates for
the elective office. As the project tasks include the analysis of the party
politics in respect of women in the United States (Democratic and Republican
parties); Great Britain (the Labor party); and Sweden (Social-Democratic party),
it is still some work to be done in this respect by the researcher.
The prior research suggests four aspects of party’s organizational
structure that may influence women’s representation: the degree of
centralization, the degree of institualization, the location of candidate
nomination, and party size. Special parties' rules on composing the National
Executive Committees, sending delegates to the parties conventions, selection
candidates procedure are among the other crucial factors of (dis)advancement of
women. I would recommend Galiya to evaluate this suggestion by taking political
culture of the “Otan” party, “Vozrozdenie Kazakhstana”,
and some others as a case.
I recommend comparing the steps taken to raise the profile of women in Kazakhstan with the measures that had been done in the major political parties of the advanced in this respect countries; and to explicate the relationship between electoral systems and other contextual variables as they relate to women’s recruitment to the positions of political influence.
3. In your opinion, does your Fellow’s project make a
significant contribution to the field?
In my opinion Galiya Khassanova’s project “Gender and Party Politics” make a significant contribution to the field of investigation of women’s recruitment into political office, particularly in its part on the ways of the women’s recruitment to the parties’ candidates lists, and to the decision making level of the political parties in her native country. This project fills gaps in addressing Kazakh Government officials, research community and NGOs for gender mainstreaming which is one of the key goals in promoting gender equality. Gender politics should be taken into account when analyzing the democratic system.
4.Would the project be important to other countries
in the CEE/FSU region?
This project would be important to other countries in the CEE/FSU region.
In recent years many political parties in the world, including in some former
socialist countries, have undergone a wide range of far-reaching reforms in
policy and governance. In the course of affecting them the significance of
gender (having first been recognized by political scientists) has become to be
addressed by practicing politicians. This recent change comes to the conflict
with the opposite move in the countries like Kazakhstan. It seems it is still
long way for its political parties activists and governing bodies to start to
take gender seriously.
The Kazakh political parties’ experience represents regional case,
also interesting for all New Independent States of the former Soviet Union, as
well as for other countries of the former socialist block in terms of negative
circumstances of the transition, which impact women first of all. Part of the
problem is the continued subordination of women, both in the labor market and in
the political arena. The mass media still support the ideology that women's
roles in society are limited to those of wife and mother. Women account for
majority of the unemployed, and democracy in the countries still has a male
Could the proposed policy research make an impact on the policy
environment in specific countries or regions? (Policy makers, experts and policy
The proposed policy
research could make an impact on the policy environment in the Kazakh Republic,
particular on policy makers, experts, policy research community, women’s
NGOs, students and all those who are interested in building civil society. As
policymakers at all levels of government begin to grapple with the challenges of
the new century and reality of transition period, they are supposed increasingly
and inevitably to value analysis grounded on objective quantitative and
qualitative research, encouraging new approaches.
Is the timetable for the project realistic?
timetable for the project is rather realistic. In order to introduce the
research results effectively, Galiya Khassanova has an intention to publish the
policy paper and the round table results. She still has enough time to complete
her research plan.
Could the project benefit a large number of people?
The project could benefit a large number of people. It
already did it: during the period of Galiya Khassanova’s fellowship she
participated in several conferences and seminars and published several articles
based on results of her research. (For example, “Women: a Political Leader”,
published in the Conference Materials of the International Round Table on Gender
Studies, October 30, 2001, Almaty. Organized by Institute of Gender and Social
Studies under Women’s Pedagogic University; “Status of Gender Studies Introduction at
Higher Education in Kazakhstan”, presented at the National Meeting
for the Regional Commissions on Family and Women under Akims (Local Governors),
September 7, 2001, Pavlodar. Organized by National Commission on Family and
Women and commission under Pavlodar Oblast Akim; “The Election System
Improvement in Kazakhstan to be fair to women”, presented at the 3d
Republican Forum for Women of Kazakhstan, November 23-24, 2001, Astana. The
preliminary findings of the research will be presented and discussed at the Round
Table with leaders of the political parties and NGOs. The further
dissemination of its results will be carried out by means of publication of
Round Table materials and policy paper.
In general the research can help to make public policy
more responsive to changing national needs and help to deepen public
understanding, that the majority of governing institutions dominated by men
further only their own interests. The
male-dominated political institutions of government do not promote women and
Does the Fellow show evidence that he/she can think strategically about the
relevant project and/or field?
Khassanova has demonstrated evidence that she can evaluate the impacts of the
past and prospective policy changes in her research, and she is able to bring a
critical insight on the political parties’ policy that affects women and
society in general. Khassanova is able to innovate ways to make her research
findings useful and accessible to national, region and local policymakers,
policy stakeholders and the public. It was also recognized by the Government of
her country: she was included into Working Team (Group), created by the National
Commission on Family and Women of Kazakhstan to develop the strategic document -
the State Conception on Gender Policy - complementing the National Plan on
Increasing Women’s Status in Kazakhstan, adopted by Government of
Kazakhstan in 1999. In addition, in
February 2002, among other 130 prominent women, the State Medal in honor of 10
years’ Independence of Kazakhstan has awarded her.
If the Fellow were to re-apply for continued OSI funding for follow-up
work associated with the project, would you support continued funding?
Yes. In form of
consulting, joint research/project.
Are there other appropriate founders that may support the project?
former post-soviet territory only one fund, MacArthur foundation has been
supporting researches stable. However, contest is extremely high since the Fund
works for all NIS countries. Mostly individuals search funds independently.
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