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We are on the road to equality

"Region", #2, November 2002 Women NGO

We are on the road to equality

   The Legal Center for Women’s Initiatives “Sana Sezim” has begun work on a new project “Towards Equality”, aimed at promoting democracy through increasing women's knowledge of their rights. The need for this project has been recognized and is supported by the Commission for the Development of Democracy at the U.S. Embassy.
   Day after day, year after year, women suffer abuse from their husbands and sexual partners. They believe that this is the fate of Eastern women and that they have to tolerate violence in the family. Domestic violence against women encompasses but is not limited to physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the family. It includes battering, sexual abuse of girls in the family, violence related to dowry, marital rape, female genital mutilation, medical violence, exploitation, as well as other practices, which are harmful to women.
   Women are treated badly, because “there is dust on the cabinet” or the “food is too hot or cool”, She wants to work or she does not wish to work, she is a fuss at work, he is jealous, he drank too much, etc. Openly direct violence is only the tip of the iceberg - he is part of a vast structure of violence against all women. Abuse is not just an individual problem but is also influenced by patriarchal structures. The discrimination is aimed at weakening women and preventing them from enjoying equal footing with men, and experiencing human rights and freedoms in all spheres of society. Unfortunately, women themselves often underestimate their abilities. They do not see their meaning and their opportunities to further their personal career growth. The passivity of women in social, cultural, and political life leads to an increase in the number of people with a patriarchal consciousness.
   We believe that the government and individuals must treat women fairly and with full respect for their dignity, regardless of their age, race, color, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, educational level, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, and regardless of whether or not they are migrants. It is essential to ensure that all women enjoy freedom and equality in all spheres of life.
   Our project is aimed at improving and correcting the situation. The project will include:   - Training for women;   - Psychological and legal advice in the office of NGO “Sana Sezim”;   - Preparation and distribution of informative handouts to the public;   - Monthly bulletins “Open Education”, which will include articles and advice on women's rights.
   October 21 - 23 was the first phase of the project. The seminar was attended by Amin Turgulova, Assistant Information Service of the U.S. Embassy. 25 women took part, including doctors, teachers, students, housewives, police officers, psychologists and lawyers. At first, many participants felt that women's rights in our country were in order, that housekeeping and the upbringing of children should be the work of a woman. But on the second day it was clear that many of the participants were changing their views on many things, like prejudices and breaking stereotypes. In the evaluation sheets, almost all noted the importance of such events.
   Hadicha Abysheva, The Legal Center for Women’s Initiatives “Sana Sezim”. For further information, please contact the office of “Sana Sezim” at the following address: Shymkent, St. Dzhangeldina 13A, Tel: (3252) 565835, e - mail: