Delegation of the European Union to Panama

Opportunities of advancing women’s rights in Kazakhstan and Europe: lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic

10/12/2020 - 12:38

NUR-SULTAN – The COVID-19 pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on women all around the world. Yet, enjoying and exercising genuine human rights fully, especially in times of crisis, is not only an ethic duty but also an essential condition for a quick recovery of our economies and societies.

As a part of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign celebrating the International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2020, the Delegation of the European Union in Kazakhstan and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kazakhstan hosted an interactive discussion focusing on women’s economic and social rights.

The two-part discussion’s first panel explored the impact the pandemic had on the economic condition of women. It focused on the development of women's entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan in the post-quarantine period and challenges, but also opportunities for women during the pandemic. The second part shed light on civil society initiatives and best practices in Kazakhstan and Europe. Successful women from business and civil society shared personal stories and successes in improving women’s participation in economic life during the pandemic.

EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Mr Sven-Olov Carlsson: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an additional layer of challenges, which continue to have a serious socio-economic impact on women and girls. One thing, which seems to be clear is that it is only through effectively empowering women, ensuring equal protection of their basic human rights, and eradicating violence against women that our society could and will be able to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and do it rapidly”.

German Ambassador to Kazakhstan Dr. Tilo Klinner said: “All over the world, traditional role models and behavioral patterns often lead to women being specifically disadvantaged as regards their economic, cultural and social rights. On top of those existing inequalities, this pandemic has again disproportionately affected the economic and social rights of women. Let me therefore be very clear: Women’s rights are human rights. And more equitable societies are not only more just. They are also stronger”.

The EU and it Member States are the global front-runner in promoting gender equality as a key political objective of their external action and common foreign and security policy. In November 2020, the EU has adopted a new ambitious Gender Action Plan, according to which by 2050, 85 % of all new external actions of the EU will contribute to a gender-equal world.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. To mark the start of the campaign, the diplomatic missions accredited to Kazakhstan made a joint statement, in which they “aspire to end gender-based violence through bilateral cooperation with Kazakhstan, regional cooperation with Central Asian nations and multilateral support through international organizations”.