Kazakh Government Addresses Gender Equality, Employment, and Women’s Health

ASTANA – Kazakh officials addressed gender equality, employment, and women’s health at a government meeting on March 7, chaired by Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, reported the government’s press service.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.

According to the Minister of National Economy Alibek Kuantyrov, Kazakhstan has made significant progress in building a society with equal rights and opportunities, creating a legal and institutional framework for ensuring gender equality.

“A modern Kazakh woman can successfully make a career and actively participate in state and public administration. In 2015, Kazakhstan committed to implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in which 12 out of 17 goals are gender-sensitive. 262 national SDG indicators have been approved,” said Kuantyrov.

Kazakhstan and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have implemented the “Women in Business” program. The bank has provided $108 million and implemented 48 local consulting projects and six projects with the involvement of international experts.

Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population Tamara Duissenova discussed employment and social support measures for women.

The country has 4.3 million employed women, 48 percent of the total employed population. 

Thirty-five percent of women work in trade and services, 32 percent in education, health, and science, 14 percent in industry, construction, and transport, and more than nine percent in agriculture. According to the statistics, the share of women in the civil service reached 55.4 percent in 2022, 39.2 percent holding senior positions. 

“In recent years, 536,000 women were employed as part of the regional employment roadmaps, which accounted for 55 percent of all employed citizens. In two months this year, this figure exceeded 92,000,” Duissenova said.

In 2022, the country launched the Silver Age project for people of pre-retirement age, employing more than 3,000 people, of which 50 percent are women.

“The ministry will continue enhancing measures to promote women’s employment in 2023. More than 177 billion tenge (US$403.6 million) has been allocated from the national budget for these purposes,” said Duissenova.

According to Gaukhar Buribayeva, chairwoman of the Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund, women contribute significantly to the country’s prosperity through entrepreneurship development. She emphasized the state measures to start and expand businesses.

“The rise of female entrepreneurship worldwide has become a global trend. This contributes to strengthening the economy, creates employment opportunities, and contributes significantly to social entrepreneurship,” said Buribayeva.

Kazakhstan sees a high proportion of women among the owners of small and medium-sized businesses – 45 percent. Among individual entrepreneurs, women represent 54 percent. Women are primarily involved in the education and real estate sectors, 69 and 59 percent, respectively.

“Kazakhstan was elected to the executive board of the UN Women in November 2020. UN Women works with the Kazakh government in our country. In 2019, UN Women headquarters in New York approved Damu Fund’s application to become one of Kazakhstan’s 38 Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Signatories. This document was signed by 2,639 companies, including Google, Citigroup, Nasdaq, PwC, Ernst & Young, and Coca-Cola,” Buribayeva said.

Minister of Health Azhar Giniyat said there are more than 10 million women in Kazakhstan, including more than four million of reproductive age and over three million girls under the age of 18.

To improve women’s health, including during pregnancy, the ministry plans to build 12 perinatal centers in line with international standards and 655 primary healthcare facilities in rural areas, as well as modernize 32 inter-district hospitals, and improve standards of medical care.

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