A group of Azerbaijani feminists has given a blow-up female doll to an Azerbaijani official who said that women should stick to the kitchen.
“We hope that our gift will really tie your kitchen together,” the activists wrote in a note attached to the package, delivered last week to the door of Namik Hasanov, spokesperson for Azerbaijan's Ministry of Transportation.
On the eve of International Women's Day (March 8), Hasanov took sexism -- a persistent issue in the macho mountains of the Caucasus -- to a whole new level by saying that a “grave or a kitchen” is a good place for women.
After a consequent outpouring of anger, Hasanov tried to moderate his remarks, but chose a strange way to do so.
In comments to Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, he said that he did not mean the observation in a bad way. “I just think women look best in the kitchen,” Hasanov was quoted as saying by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. “I don’t want a woman to destroy her family for the sake of her work or a career.”
A group of women, mainly rights activists, then chose to present Hasanov with the woman of his dreams; someone he could firmly place in a kitchen or “a coffin” or whatever other place floats his boat.
“We reminded him that a woman is not a home appliance…but, rather, a citizen with full rights,” said activist Ulviya Mamedova, Sehife news service reported.
The activists argued that the remarks were particularly disturbing coming from a public official. In 2012, Azerbaijan ended up in 99th place out of 134 countries in gender-equality rankings published by the World Economic Forum's annual Global Gender Gap Report.
Sexism in this part of the world often comes in the form of sex-selective abortions, which are so prevalent in Azerbaijan that the government recently considered banning prenatal gender detection.
At least Hasanov and his new, vinyl companion won’t need to worry about that.