Women leaders from Central Asia discuss the role of women in innovation and technology at regional dialogue chaired by Kazakhstan
On June 19, Kazakhstan chaired the Dialogue of Women of Central Asia 2023 under the theme: "The role of women in the development of innovations and technologies,” organized by the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan and the National Commission for Women Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan with support from the United Nations. The event brought together over 150 participants, including women parliamentarians from Central Asia, representatives of state bodies, international and non-governmental organizations, and experts.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Aida Balayeva, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy under the President of the Republic, focused on the integration of the efforts of active women from the countries of the Central Asian region, including the women's business community, academic and scientific circles, non-governmental and civil sectors. “We believe this platform can help us to solve common issues and improve the quality of life of women and our families, especially in the face of global and regional challenges”, said Balayeva.
Tanzila Narbaeva, Chairperson of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan said: "The role of innovation and technology is very important for our region. We should not limit ourselves to discussing this topic only today. Sustainability and the implementation of joint interesting projects are key priorities for us.”
"The employment of women in science, technology, and engineering is still relevant. I believe that in any field, the rights and contribution of women are vital for the future, including in the development of technology and innovation", said Jamilya Isaeva, Deputy Chairperson of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic. She also highlighted that the sub-regional consultations for Central Asian partners were held in Bishkek on the eve of the 67th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) with the agenda of innovation, technological progress, and education in the digital age.
The session was moderated by Daniya Espayeva, Deputy Chairperson of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, who spoke about digitalization, one of the priorities identified by the Dialogue as a new effective tool for the active involvement of women in society and the economy.
Dialogue participants drew attention to the structural and economic problems faced by women. For instance, over 60 million women do not have access to mobile Internet and therefore miss out on opportunities for learning and economic development more often than men. At the same time, experts pointed out that the modern digital transformation can open up opportunities for expanding the economic and social rights and opportunities of women and can be used to promote gender equality, which is a goal for all the states of Central Asia.
"By harnessing the potential of technology, we can bridge the gender gap, expand access to education and healthcare, provide economic opportunities, amplify women's voices, and strengthen their participation in decision-making. Through innovative solutions, we can create a future where Central Asian women and girls are empowered, connected, and equipped to overcome the barriers”, outlined Elisa Fernández Sáenz, UN Women Deputy Regional Director, in her opening remarks.
The Dialogue included a thematic session on “Best practices in the field of innovation and technology development with the participation of women.” Participants discussed digital projects, ranging from development of women's startups, artificial intelligence, digitalization in rural areas, as well as developments aimed at solving topical issues of family and society, women's entrepreneurship, vocational education and employment.
Nilufar Murodova, co-founder of iCode, a non-profit social project in Tajikistan, presented a program aimed at training women and girls in the field of information technology (IT). “Our unique project in Tajikistan helps to train women and girls on topics such as IOS development, Android and UI/XI. Following the training, we organize a paid internship for them, and they get a job further. I came here because I want to be inspired by other entrepreneurs, and find business partners at this event,” said Murodova.
Aidai Ismailova, founder of "Techno Women Kyrgyzstan", an NGO working to provide new opportunities for women and girls IT said: “We developed an IT hub through private investment, where we created a community for the IT sector and we actively cooperate with women's groups. I would like to invite other IT hubs to sign memorandums so that together we can promote Central Asia in global markets,” said Ismailova.
As an outcome of the event, participants adopted an action plan, which includes an international conference on women, peace and security to be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Learn more about the Dialogue of Women of Central Asia here.