“Today & Tomorrow. Azerbaijan in Focus”.-2007.-¹2.-P.11-17

 

GENDER POLICY IN AZERBAIJAN:

REALITY AND PROGNOSES

 

Rena Mirzazade

 

Gender reveals human rights equality for man and woman in the society. Being in the process of formation formed since XIX century, feminism is a political trend, socio-political movement calling to fight for woman freedom, woman rights. Though historically inevitable, from humanism point of view feminism already now does not respond in full to human rights problem. Yet gender is both modern, and a scientific direction fully meeting the epoch requirement, human rights philoso­phy. Criticizing all basic cognitive and prac­tical principles of the patriarchal civilization, by rejecting the new principles set forth by gender researches of the said civilization, the feminism theory has demonstrated them having rolled down to death. Gender theo­ries are the latest scientific direction in this context.

In Azerbaijan in the struggle for democ­racy, in the formation of the civil society and the legal state the issue of equality of rights of sexes also occupies a special place. In our country in 1919 the Parliament of the Azerbaijan People Republic confirmed for the first time equality of the right of sexes. Later on, also in the period of the former USSR this issue to a certain extent became reality in different spheres of social-political life both in the centralized, planned form, and by the "quota" system.

Gender equality right reflected also in the Constitutional Act "On State Independence of Azerbaijan Republic", dated 18 October 1991. The National Parliament of the Azerbaijan Republic joined the UN Convention "On Political Rights of Women" on 4 August 1992 and ratified on 30 June 1995 the Convention "On elimination of all forms of discrimination toward women". On 14 January 1998 our National Leader H.Aliyev issued the Decree "About measures on increasing women's role in Azerbaijan". And another law directly stimulating the gender policy in the republic is the Resolution "On carrying out the state woman policy in the Azerbaijan Republic",signed by sagacious politician H. Alitev on 6 March 2000. And on 6 February 1996 on the basis of the Resolution signed by the President of Azerbaijan Republic I. Aliyev, continuing this policy, the State Committee on Problems of Family, Woman and Child was established. President I. Aliyev's another resolution of special importance is 'Law on Gender Equality" signed in 2006. After this short historical excursus let us pay attention to the gender policy in Azerbaijan.

Characteristics of woman movement. Orders, decrees, decisions and resolutions adopted in our country as well as ratifica­tion of international legal acts on the gen­der policy create the basis for the legal pro­vision on the ground of the gender equality in the society.

Exactly from this point of view, after the Azerbaijan Republic had gained its inde­pendence the article of the Constitution called "Men and women possess equal rights and liberties." (Ref: the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Â., 1995, P. 10, article 25) was included into the new Constitution adopted in 1995 so that it was legitimized by its correspondence to basic standards of international gender equality.

It is not accidental that the urgency of the gender problem have found its reflec­tion in the following words on the face vol­ume of the Convention "On the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women": "The full and complete develop­ment of a country, the welfare of the world and the cause of peace require the maxi­mum participation of women on equal terms with men in all fields." In the mod­ern period renovations have been manifest­ing themselves in all spheres of social-political life, including in the men-women activities in the society, connected with basic changes taking place, first of all, in the political system in the independent, democratic Azerbaijan.

Main two different opinions are includ­ed in the social-political analysis of the role of sexes in the social development. One of them views women as a social-demograph­ic group, and the other - as having a deter­mined social status, a big unity distin­guished by its specific demographic char­acteristics, a rare social group. The second variant can be considered more acceptable, because woman is a really existing and empirically registered comparatively fully stable social group. They are active in pub­lic and political processes, production sphere, culture and in other fields inherent to human life. The XX-century history, especially our history (mainly the latest periods) proves the thesis "women are the object of policy" to be narrow-minded, even socially and morally completely worthless. In contrary, women who have practically gaining incomplete freedom a social force, women as its subject have increased their activity during the latest periods. This force can influence the histor­ical movement, interferes with different means, accelerates or slows the social progress, make conflicts and or, creating conditions, solves them.

Last years, in spite of ideologically dif­ferent ways of viewing, an intention to make all mutual steps in order to unite all fields attracts attention; platforms are being defined at the meetings organized on the scale of international forums, conferences, in order to adopt general decisions. Women have either restored broken for a long period as a result of the "cold war" and continuing mutual relations or made them stronger. They have become initiators and selfless representatives of the popular diplomacy, firm, experienced fighters:

The XX century has become a great cen­tury also in the life of Azerbaijani women. The Azerbaijani women have gained equal rights along with men in all spheres of social, economic, moral life and used their own creative possibilities to serve the soci­ety. And this is a stubborn fact too that in the Soviet period women were active more in material production spheres. But it's also true that the force of the "weak sex" was unjustly used in light and even heavy industry, in hard works in agriculture.

If we pay attention to the specificities of the women movement in the republic, it will become clear that the change of ideo­logical values, the appearance of democra­cy that is ideals, on the stage is one of main important reasons activating the participa­tion of women in the social-political processes. The development of the women movement has put an end on the absen­teeism and indifference in women.

Absenteeism that is deviation from vot­ing during elections of elective, representa­tive organs and officials must be stopped. To allow absenteeism, a forced voting is applied in many countries: the speakers are fined, even arrested...

The Azerbaijani society is regulated mainly through traditional family system, obeying men-women roles sufficiently seri­ously determined "in formal way". In the family man's own place and woman's own position are respected. With regard to the family finance, a man is its main provider, and a woman assumes every-day-life work.

Place and role of sexes in political processes - In the period of transition

In the republic as one of the topical problems the woman issue gets confirmed in the formation of women organizations on the level of non-governmental organiza­tions and also in the government as the State. As one of the leading forces of the society, by creating their own organiza­tions, by becoming participants of social-political, public events, women also bear to a certain degree decisive functions in the country. Another necessary and important factor is the political passiveness of women, and in case of having an internal inclination to politicization, the discords from outside into "inside" in the political life. It can be possibly explained by differ­ent reasons. First of all, if we take the national mentality as a basis, in Azerbaijan where West and East meet, if the Azerbaijani women's half having western features, and the other half of the women being western, the other half eastern is exactly an initial appearance form, also his­torical roots, national habits and traditions are also in a certain sense characteristic. And the second reason, along with the ker­nel of the "humanistic" policy called "equal­ity" of as we already mentioned the 70-year-long Soviet system, are the signs of being ruled from the center as "the Sovietized" indifference which is far from nationalism, inclinations to accept every­thing ready, to get alienated to events. The third reason, the political culture of indi­viduals being one of main sign of the polit­ical activity, the fourth, the political regime and political structure, and the fifth, char­acteristic cases as obliteration of moral val­ues in the politicization, and other similar numerous factors of influence can be shown.

When speaking about the political activ­ity of the Azerbaijani woman, the influence of above-mentioned different reasons as a result find their reflection also in the processes going in the society. To our mind, from this view the objective situation is formation of the idea that "the man's place is the first" still inherent to mass con­sciousness in the society. In moral, social values, habits and traditions, in the forma­tion of the world outlook the woman phe­nomenon has been perceived, compre­hended in the way it is suggested to the theoretical consciousness. Though in our times situations characteristic to already known Soviet period have been cleaned off in many cases, radical changes have taken place in relations, social consciousness, the discrimination between sexes has been removed partially, still remain to a certain degree.

From the point of view of the woman's role, position and place, the radical change in the social structure of the society, such change of the social formation still stands on the old values of models of sex differ­ences such as "strong" - "weak" in the reno­vating world. Exactly from this point of view, serious changes manifest themselves in behavioral contacts between sexes which play different roles in the society. In order not to be subjected to the attacks, pressures and reproaches, women as equal citizens of the society have to think in accordance to which political, moral standards they should build their behaviors. Also here there are certain conditions are in women's being Mother, a wife, a sister, tutor, a bear­er of honor, a symbol of self-esteem, an embodiment of dignity. Naturally, it is a natural state. The opposite "strong" pole, from this point of view, is free in any of his movement, behavior and relation. And this was an initial rooted factor of the political passiveness in all spaces and times as a natural standard, and one the most impor­tant reasons of the woman's restriction is the oldness of her psychological world out­look. Though the image of the woman and policy, woman-politician, politicized woman is accepted a little bit narrow frame, today it is finding a wide place in our mentality. Also today it is a manifesta­tion form of the renovation of the social consciousness. It is a factor conditioning the popularization of the participation of women in policy, her political activity.

Balance of Power / Equality in Politics -The symbol of a firm woman is very important for the renovation of the society, the global-range balance. How it can be that you create, educate a person for the society, but the person cannot participate in the governing of the society, or you should only fulfill orders in the frame of maternity function. Not obtaining full equality is one of social troubles of the soci­ety we represent. The model of sexes' inter­action, behavior and equal activity in the society, public, political, social, psychologi­cal, ethic, cultural integration was balanced in the modern philosophical science under the name of "Gender Philosophy".

In the political sphere man - woman personalization, feminist movement are already not characteristic for the renovat­ing society. The public interests, advantage principle of the problems make women solidarity relation necessary. And this forms  individuals in their equal political forming; in their participation in the equal mecha­nism. To-day it is impossible to deny how much useful work women active in public organizations do for the society. Along with this, from the point of view of equali­ty given, by the country's Constitution and international standards, the political activi­ty of women aggressively attracts attention. We should again show certain reasons here: the woman as a personality does not want to stand on the top of the symbol of reproach, the sample of gossips, ill-inten­tioned exaggerations. She becomes passive against irrelevant personalized moral slan­der, insults, and lies with beating hints in the direction of rumoring about family-generation. But do the facts say? According to the official statistics, a major part of the population are women, a major part of people wishing to receive education are girls, at the moment of aggravation of political problems mothers bear the major part of pains on their shoulders, it is a woman who submits to material hardships, endures them, who is a sister, a wife, who holds high the family and mother land in the first place. In such a case also the factor of politicization of women, leadership, and political leadership-pace-making in the society should be placed in the minds as a usual case. The woman should be approached from the frame of the ability way, skill necessary for the work to be done, education, intellect, world outlook, and because of her sex origin. Let us note one important characteristic here that exactly in the renovating society changes are achieved on the ground of equality, equal solidarity. Individuals move in the determined direction from traditional liv­ing standards to new targets and positions, ideals. The emergence of new behavioral models, the formation of new demands from the above-mentioned dimensions lifts the activeness of individuals and increases its internal dynamics. And the provision of interests and benefits makes women actively join in politics. The politicization, the ris­ing of the political activity of the women is an important condition in the development of the dynamics of the political equilibrium of processes in the society. It is an interest­ing situation that though the Azerbaijani women have entered all spheres of the society, yet again policy is considered to be the place of men, and the women's place - family-kitchen-education, and this is the indication of eastern mentality we men­tioned above.

Let us show right here that when a man loses "the man's place", the woman is able to courageously come to the front. History proved it many times. As a researchers, though not being the supporter of femi­nists, we do not accept the woman slavish, subordination, slave form and to assume more responsibility, amenability, and con­sider right the constitutional equality only. However, the reality does not reflect this and now we are going to speak about it.

If the phrases Woman pace-making, Woman Khatun are considered from to­day prism point, it meets the irony "the old slogan of the old society". And in the Ancient Turks at all documentation work the opinion of the Khatun was categorical­ly considered as basic when the names of Khaqan and Khatun were being written together. As writes Turkish researcher Nejdet Sevinj, "...in the Turkish peoples...the sovereign's injunction started only with the phrase of Khagan. The ambassadors of foreign states could not appear only before the Khaqan's presence, in the line of the reception of ambassadors the presence of Khatun together with the Khagan was obligatory.

Main factors of political activity. Being on the transition period, our life at the same is the period of carrying out of new reforms, the adoption of new laws, the lib­eration from old fears, stereotypes. The end of the 80-s and the beginning of the 90-s of the XX century can be characterized as a big change and overturns period. As a result of the weakening of the pillars of the totalitarian system, the authority created a new atmosphere. During many years the removal of the ruling party from governing arena, the formation of new organizations and parties, the democratization taking place in the public life put a deep trace. The changes conducted in the public life caused the formation of new parties in the republic. A big number of theses organiza­tions and societies unite also women around themselves. To-day also women actively support the leading movements and organizations in the solving of emerged problems.

Another issue attracting the attention is that starting from small groups, organiza­tions to big political parties and to the authorities of certain fields in the state structures the personal power of the women at all positions does not deny the possession of their main decisive influence in the social-political processes. The woman not interfering from the creative position with the society, even with family, we should acknowledge the truth, also today is appraised and stays far from reproach, criticism target. In such case the woman yet again in general is deprived from the possibility to be respected as a personality, an individual.

The active participation of women in the social-political processes is connected to a number of important factors. First, the necessity to solve the problems piled since many years drew the women as all society members to participate in the new process­es. Disregarding any contradictory charac­ter whatsoever, these processes possess progressive movements regarding its essence. Second, the woman movement widening through out the world has been manifesting its influence. Now the imita­tive on saving the world from the danger­ous nuclear weapon has created an oppor­tunity for the new generation to say its word. On this process background, the women have obtained a possibility to openly criticize the negative cases deeply rooted in the democratic, ecological, moral arenas. Third, national revival, national self-cognition as well as modernization process is going now in the life of each of the peoples of the former USSR. Fourth, the harmonic influence of world, characteristics of the modern civilization on the life of women can be marked. There was a time when the polarization of moral values only from the point of class nature was accom­panied by certain restrictions. However, time's experience and test show that the human enriches the national as well as in its turn the national is a legal component of the human.

In the fight for restoration and strength­ening of state independence in the republic hundred of thousands of women's spring­ing into the political arena the influences occurring also in their behavior openly manifested themselves. Due to the absence of any political analyses and political agita­tion, the corresponding regulating mecha­nisms and direction forms being not deter­mined, the said process has created unde­sirable situations thus consequent funda­mental changes in life of some women.

Today a big engrossment of women's political activity going intensively has become an active factor in our modern life. Women already take an active part on the global level in the business of the UN, European Union, in social-political process­es all over the world, in the management of states, in elections carried out in local administrative organs.

Chair-persons of NGOs and nearly the majority human rights societies in the republic are women.

Social-political protection - every woman's engagement in active political activity is conditioned by the position she takes in society due her social status, i.e. age, sex, origin, trade and marital status. The level of women politicization is regu­lated, first, by its unity of political-psycho­logical mechanisms creating condition for active policy, on the other hand, by factors as rising of political activity.

In transition social values, relations inherent to the old regime stop working, renovations occur in social consciousness, acceptable and unacceptable changes are created in the social structure. In the peri­od of absence of a new structure of society the system of values, possibly to say, has been fully learned. Exactly this has become a reason that women were subjected to crossing influences of old and new values creating in the opposite poles, the change of their social image; with this, their activi­ty - behavioral way to be created by them has been changing. In the consciousness of women considered the main education pil­lar of the society, intentions to base on the moral values common to mankind have been increasing.

The weakness of social protection is one of factors hindering the active activity in the society. That is in the society the princi­ples of a joint activity mechanism, long-term regulation of ethic values already make women as the majority of individuals think more about themselves, make them active. An active, interesting, conscientious behavior acts as its indication. Women's political activity in different forms, levels manifest themselves exactly from this point of view: - from the level of absolutely clear, right understanding ability, comprehen­sion and realization of the interests of the sex she belongs to; At this point, depend­ing on what purpose she sets to herself, use of what means and opportunities possible in future in order to achieve it, the way of perceiving and the way of interfering in processes in the society, the way of being able to realize events; mastering what political knowledge; depending on belong­ing to what political faith .

Politics and needs groups - though in the post Soviet period the society lived amidst material pressures, economic diffi­culties, this did not mean yet the existence of needs necessary for full involvement of all individuals, including women in poli­tics. Naturally, if we are to give the description of mechanism of this process, they can be basically divided into two groups: difficulties jumping into arena in the fields of - first economic, moral and material needs and the second -political, cultural, etc.

The first group - internal need, i.e. if bears essence of personal interest principle, the second group external, i.e. needs direct­ed on the common initiative results base. And all these can be clarified after deter­mining full hierarchy of society. In accor­dance with this, i.e. improvement of sys­tematic forms regulating social needs creat­ed from regulation of social status and roles. In such progress social principles of social activity will also be move toward to the development.

Is social-political thought of women studied?

International experience shows that a big need is felt for feminism concepts to be organized by researchers and application of the received results in real life. Issues considered important for researches are as follows: development way of political views and the place of women in the social-political life; women's thoughts about economy, market relations and woman management; political leadership of women and woman elite; women's social opinion and power institutions; women's electronic behavior and electoral companies; social protection and social guarantees of women in transient to mar­ket relations; social tension and women mass.

Generally, such question rises, should women's social-political thought be stud­ied? Woman as an individual an independ­ent subject and one of the main bearers of social-political thought in the society. Western scientists many times proved this idea by their researches. To bring an exam­ple, in the USA, Canada, France, England and many other developed countries in dif­ferent problems of society there exist scores of special centers studying social-political thought of women.

In their social-political thoughts women act as subject of politics. As a public group they influence the social life, protect both national and specific woman interests, and as a result, achieve to increase their social political status. At the same time, being a traditional object of politics, women feel on themselves results of all its changes.

The conducted research show that women more precisely, unambiguously determine their position in family, every­day-life, production, cultural and social problems or in micro-objective relations of social-political thought. In the evaluation of political processes and their influences on our life, women unlike men occupy a more moderate place. It was not said in vain, "women are the balance of and men are intensifiers of civilization". The direction of evaluation of social-political opinion of women unlike men is more constructive and positive. Characteristic features as tol­erance and mercy inherent in woman seem to manifest themselves so:

- woman's social-political opinion prefers evolutionary development of politi­cal and economic processes to revolution­ary;

- woman's basic interests and - social needs : protection of family, care for chil­dren and relatives, a real provision to right to live, hope to tomorrow's life, social sta­bility and social calmness are in her focus of attention;

- advantage and position issues come after the said-above; the same goes to rep­resentation in authority structures;

- to balance vote ration in legislative organs; at last, to occupy a prominent place in the political corridors