Message by UN Women Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic on the occasion of International Women's Day, 8 March 2017

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In his message on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017, the Representative of the UN Women Country Office in the Kyrgyz Republic Gerald Gunther congratulates women and girls on ‘their’ day and calls for action by every man and women, at home and in public life to empower women and girls so that they can use their agency to realize their rights in family and society and participate as equals in building a prosperous and just Kyrgyzstan.


Gender equality is at the heart of human rights and the values ​​of the United Nations. Equality of men and women is a fundamental principle of the UN Charter. All governments are responsible for protection and promotion of women’s rights.

Despite this, across the world women face violence and discrimination and are deprived of the opportunities men enjoy in education and employment.

Women in Kyrgyzstan still encounter many problems, despite the significant progress made towards gender equality. The poverty rate in Kyrgyzstan has increased by 1.5 % in 2015 compared to 2014 and is now at 32.1%. This is solely due to an increase in the poverty rate among women from 29.7% in 2014 to 32.7% in 2015.

Women spend almost three times the time on housekeeping compared to men. Inadequate childcare facilities and lack of decent job opportunities detain women in informal employment. Some people are using misinterpretation of local cultural practices and religion to foster stereotypes that put women in a lower place than men. This must stop!

On International Women’s Day, we call upon the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, civil society and the private sector to support the achievements of women and girls, to recognize existing problems and to give more attention to women's rights and gender equality.

We encourage the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to demonstrate stronger commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women as one of the fundamental human rights and as a factor contributing to the common good, and to lead the planet towards gender equality, together with other countries. This can be done by robustly enforcing the laws of the country to root out bride-kidnapping and early marriage and to punish the perpetrators of domestic violence.

At the same time state and civil society need to invest in girls so that they are empowered and well educated which means that they can find secure employment, build careers, marry when mature, have the number of children they can well support, with all this reducing divorce rates and leading to happy families and a stable and prosperous society. We need a functioning and strong state that protects the rights of everyone according to its Constitution and laws.

We encourage everyone to make a difference, think globally and act locally!

Make every day International Women’s Day!

Let us do your bit to ensure that the future of girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.


Gerald Gunther,

UN Women Representative in Kyrgyzstan