Kyrgyzstan: Revolution Revisited
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Aigul Alymkulova
Executive Director,
Women's Support Center

"The women's movement, which is now taking shape . . .is a united powerful voice, [with] common national initiatives, [for] promoting and protecting women's rights. In April 2005, representatives of the women's movement stated their demands clearly, met with the government and this led to the establishment of a special representative of the president on gender issues in parliament. For us, this is a big victory . . .

[Relations between women's organizations] used to be like small threads, but they have turned into lassos. Now if there is a will and a situational need to take action, we know very well that there [are] . . . people and organizations that will join and help implement a measure, especially if it is rights protection.

After the revolution, there was a presidential decree on establishing a 30 percent quota [for women] in the state administration. This is already a step. But in order for women to be fully involved in parliament, they first need to struggle their way in. Then we need to give them skills so that they can work there. We need women's leadership institutes, experience in political battles. There are also elections by party list [for parliament], which could play a role, and I think we should work in this direction.

Women's activism has recently begun to spread via a new profession of female picketers, which has come into existence. This type of activism is mostly based on economic reasons, mostly from self-interest . . . Once women have the economic levers in their hands and will be able to perform their functions in society, I think many women will have the desire and even the need to get into power at the level of decision-making, to change others' lives through running for parliament."

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