Women’s Participation Program in Azerbaijan
Region: Europe + Eurasia
Areas of Focus: Effective Governance and Institutions
Dates of project: 2011-2013
The government of Azerbaijan has gender equity provisions in key laws and policies, but these are not universally applied, and violations of women’s rights and gender disparities remain widespread in the country. According to the United Nations Population Fund, “In post-Soviet Azerbaijan, women are more likely to be unemployed, paid less than men and discriminated against in the workplace.” The end of Soviet-era quotas also has resulted in declining numbers of Azerbaijani women in elected office. Women account for less than 20 percent of members of Parliament (Inter-Parliamentary Union), 14 percent of the judges (United Nations Population Fund) and a very small percentage of senior administrative positions.
Azerbaijan participated in the 1995 Beijing Women’s Forum and ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In 2006, in accordance with CEDAW, the president decreed the establishment of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children to assume the lead role in determining policy concerning women’s issues and gender equality. As of 2009, CEDAW, in its 44th session, concluded that although Azerbaijan had made significant progress, critical areas of concern remained, among them: discriminatory laws regarding legal marriage age, domestic violence, education, health care and employment.
What We Do
The two-year Women’s Participation Program, funded by USAID through the Global Civil Society Strengthening Leader with Associates award, seeks to improve the status of women in Azerbaijan by raising public awareness and empowering more women to engage in political processes. It also aims to develop the capacity of women-focused civil society organizations (CSOs) and government institutions that work on women’s issues.
The program is closely tied to the CEDAW commitments. Counterpart works in partnership with a core group of competitively selected women’s CSOs as well as key government agencies to stage broad public-awareness campaigns about women's issues and rights and encourage women to participate more in public and political life. In addition, the program supports several campaigns targeting CEDAW priority issues.
We have increased public awareness of CEDAW and women’s issues; enhanced institutional capacity of CSOs to engage with governments on women’s issues; increased the number of female leaders and their influence in politics and governance; recommended policies to the government of Azerbaijan for improving implementation of CEDAW; and advocated legislation and ministerial initiatives to improve the status of women.
Six new grants were awarded in March 2012 to support women’s rights and promote women’s leadership in Azerbaijan. The coalitions comprise 14 organizations, among them the Women’s Association for Rational Development, Women Leaders, Tomris, Solidarity Among Women, Clean World and Women for Development of Municipalities. Read more about these grants >
In 2012, the program engaged 3,185 women in trainings, workshops, public hearings and seminars to increase their knowledge and awareness of gender issues.
WPP has released five Public Service Announcements since June 2012, reaching more than 1 million Azerbaijanis: