Key words: gender norms, agriculture, natural resource management, Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan
Current research was conducted within the framework of the “Small and Medium Enterprise Development in Alai and Chon-Alai districts of the Osh Oblast” programme (Bai Alai) that is currently being implemented by Helvetas in consortium with Aga Khan Foundation which is an example of gender-sensitive planning aimed at long-term poverty reduction, alleviation of inequality between rural and urban areas, and improvement of employment opportunities, especially among youth and women.
This study may be considered a piece of action research that aims to study the dynamics of gender relations in Alai and Chon Alai rayons and determine the most problematic issues with regard to promoting gender equality and economic empowerment.
Based on the study findings, this report describes gender issues in the practice of poverty alleviation and in local economic development and entrepreneurship.
The report seeks to transcend the boundaries of common and stereotypical notions of women’s victimization, prevalence of discriminatory practices in relation to women, and limited resources for women’s empowerment, and describe aspects of the daily lives of rural women in the studied villages in terms of:
• Gender division of labour in livestock, farming and unpaid care work
• Women’s and men’s relative access to resources, services, and markets
• Power relations and decision-making processes within households on expenditure and other key issues
• The likely impact of all these on programme activities.
The findings and recommendations presented in the report will help to further define strategies for women’s economic empowerment, and will also provide a “snapshot” of trends in the gender order in the studied communities in transition.