Photo: UN Women/Janarbek Amankulov

The most populous country in Central Asia, with 31 million inhabitants (2015), Uzbekistan is a vast, doubly-landlocked country neighboured by Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.

The Republic of Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991. It is a presidential republic, and conducts presidential and parliamentary elections on a regular basis. In 2011, the World Bank re-classified Uzbekistan from a low-income to a lower middle-income nation.

Although absolute poverty in Uzbekistan has declined, with 13,5 [1](2015) per cent of the population living below the national poverty line, there is strong income inequality between regions and economic sectors. Uzbekistan Household Budget Survey (HBS) data suggest that rural areas account for 70 per cent of poor households, with poverty risk higher in villages and small towns far from main transportation and communication networks.

Uzbekistan has acceded to more than 80 international treaties on human rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which was ratified in 1995. On 4 November 2015, the fifth periodic report of Uzbekistan was presented to the CEDAW Committee. In the concluding observations on Uzbekistan’s report adopted at the CEDAW Committee session, the Committee expressed concern on gender equality and women's empowerment issues in the country, among them with regard to the adoption of the draft “Law on the guarantees of equal rights and opportunities for men and women”, the status of the national machinery for the advancement of women, women’s political and public participation, application of temporary special measures, and the situation with regard to violence against women.

According to official assessments, Uzbekistan scores consistently high in equality of access to education and in health outcomes for women. However, women’s access to economic opportunities, leadership, political participation and decision-making, and participation in tertiary education remains low.

In 2004, a 30% quota for women in party election lists was introduced, but they represent only 16,5% in Parliament(elections of 2014). In local representative bodies women constitute more than 19% of the total number of Deputies. In 2015, the Chairperson of the Women's Committee of Uzbekistan, who is at the same time the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as the Minister of Economy are women. Yet, women constitute only 6.5% of positions in the Cabinet of Ministers and 13% of the judiciary. There are no female hokims (mayors), although there are female deputy hokims. Women hold only 27 per cent of management positions in the private sector.

Part of the UN Women Kazakhstan Multi-Country Office (MCO), the UN Women programme in Uzbekistan worked for gender equality, to empower women and unlock progress for both women and men. Our programme has been aligned with Uzbekistan’s national development priorities. UN Women focussed on initiatives in:

To learn more about our work in Uzbekistan, please visit the MCO Kazakhstan page.

[1] Uzbekistan UNDAF 2016-2020, p.9