Uzbekistan: Country Gender Assessment 2014

Institutional Document | April 2014

This country gender assessment describes the changes in the status of women and men in Uzbekistan as the country rapidly transforms from a state-controlled, agricultural economy to a market-based system. Prepared under ADB regional technical assistance, this report explains in detail several characteristics of Uzbekistan’s transformation and their direct bearing on gender equality.

In 2011, Uzbekistan celebrated 20 years of independence, a period characterized by both positive and negative developments in gender equality. The status of women and men in Uzbekistan is very much shaped by the fact that the country has undergone significant and rapid change in recent years.

Although reform processes have certainly included initiatives to improve women’s economic opportunities in Uzbekistan, efforts to promote gender equality mostly remain separate from the nation’s development programs. Furthermore, gender equality initiatives generally are not characterized as such but instead are framed as programs to improve women’s access to key resources such as decision-making positions or to address issues that seem more relevant for women, such as maternal health and family violence.

Gender assessments

Annual assessments of the extent to which women and men are equal in Uzbekistan indicate that although Uzbekistan scores consistently high in terms of equality in access to education (albeit in traditional female areas of study) and in health outcomes for women, these scores are tempered by the limited progress made in women’s access to economic opportunities and political empowerment.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan articulates principles of nondiscrimination and equal rights for women and men, but the government has not yet adopted an official policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. However, both country welfare improvement strategies for 2008–2010 and 2012–2015 proposed target indicators for achieving gender equality in selected priority sectors.

National action plan

Since ADB conducted its last country gender assessment in 2005, the government has also approved successive national action plans to respond to issues raised by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan, which is chaired by a deputy prime minister but is considered a nongovernment organization, remains the primary agency that coordinates women’s affairs nationally, regionally, and locally.

At a practical level, however, gender equality is largely perceived as a process of being just and fair to women rather than a prerequisite for the country’s economic growth and stability.

ADB's work in the country

The ADB portfolio in Uzbekistan is a positive example of how activities relevant to gender can be integrated into a range of projects that concern ADB’s core operations—specifically, projects on water supply and sanitation, natural resources, energy, transport, small and medium-sized enterprises and private sector development, including projects to improve access to finance and financial services.

Under the country partnership strategy (2012–2016), ADB intends to go beyond isolated improvements in women’s lives and to promote a model of more equitable gender roles and further gender equality. The critical areas of ADB focus should include the collection of sex-disaggregated statistics and data; examination of gender roles and norms, and of gender issues related to the labor market participation, political and public life, agricultural production, human development (education and health), and violence against women.

Contents 

  • Executive Summary
  • Background and Context
  • Crosscutting Gender Issues and Implications for ADB Operations
  • Mainstreaming Gender in ADB Operations
  • Appendixes
  • References