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Kyrgyz Republic

:
Policy and Regulatory Reforms to Boost
Employment for Women

Rafkat Hasanov
The views expressed in this paper are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian
Development Bank (ADB), or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of
the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. The countries listed in this paper do
not imply any view on ADB's part as to sovereignty or independent status or necessarily conform to ADB's terminology.

General Characteristics of Women’s Employment in KR
• Women’s shares in total employment and economically active population have
been constantly decreasing over the past few years.
• There is a gap between women’s and men’s unemployment levels.
• Despite some declines in wage gap, its value is still significant and has started to
increase.
• There is a strong segregation in the labor market. The majority of employed
women is concentrated in service sector with traditionally low wage levels.
• There is a significant gap in employment of men and women at age of 25-34,
when women leave their jobs for childcare. Meanwhile this is the age where
people are the most active to earn money.
• Female business going down that speeds up downwards trend in female
employment

Women’s employment indicators
42.5
42
41.5

42.3
41.7

41.9
41.3

41

41.8
41.4
41.2
40.9

40.5

40.4

40

39.8

39.5
39
38.5
2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Women's share in total employment, %
Women's share in economically active population, %

NSC data

Total unemployment
12

10

9.8

9.9

9.9

9.5

7.7

7.6

7.7

9.7

8

7.4

7.4

6

4

2

0
2009

2010

2011

Total unemployment among women, %

2012

2013

Total unemployment among men, %

NSC data

Wage gap
Ratio of women’s salaries to men’s salaries, %
90
80

78.4

70
60

63.9

63.6

2009

2010

74.3

73.3

2012

2013

50
40

30
20

10
0
2011

NSC data

Indicators of women’s entrepreneurship
Share of women-business owners in Kyrgyzstan,%
35%
30%

29%

29%

29%

27%

25%

23%

20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

NSC data

Reasons for Low Employment of Women
• Limited informal connections to find a job for women.
• Lack of incentives for employers to provide benefits for childcare and
ensuring access to childcare institutions.
• Women make up a large number of workers engaged in informal work.
• Existence of stereotypes about “women’s low productivity because of
motherhood” .
• Existence of gender discrimination for women entrepreneurs (lack of
strategic thinking, dependence of male coworkers, women are guided by
emotions etc.)
• Wage gaps are predicted on the educational stage as a consequence of
labor market segregation.
• Women’ lower wages are not considered as a big problem by the employer.

Measures Supporting Women’s Employment and Entrepreneurship
• All measures to empower women economically are divided by two types:
(i) improvement of business environment that leads to better positions of women;
(ii) gender-specific measures.

• Gender-specific measures are mostly focused on political and legislative levels:
•The Law on state guaranties of equal rights and opportunities for women and men (2008) ensures
guaranties of gender equality while working at the government agencies. At least one deputy of
head at ministerial and province level must be female. There are quotas for female candidates in
political parties.
•The Law on normative legislative acts (2009) establishes obligatory gender expertise of laws and
regulations.
• Since 2012 State Prosecutor's office has statistically monitored implementation of laws on gender
equality.

• Strengthening of economic opportunities of women is a key priority indicated in national
strategic documents: NSSD 2013-2017; GPTSD 2013 – 2017; NSAGE 2020; NAP 2012-2014.
• Still unrealized intention to develop a special Program of supporting women’s
entrepreneurship (as indicated in GPTSD).

Measures : Targeted Feminized Industry Promotion
(Textile and Garment Sector)
• Past: 1991 - Last year being in USSR- textile and Garment Sector: – one of the largest
sector of the economy, share of textile sector - 80%, garment – 20%. Employment 250,000. Female participation ratio was almost 90%.
• By 2000 – large crises of the sector: level of textile sector was only 10%.
• Now: the Gross output level almost has restored but share of textile sector is only 15%,
garment – 85%. Employment – 180,000 (2010)
• Factors of growth: economic – transit location between two large economies (CIS and
China), growing demand from Russia and Kazakhstan, specialization within garment
sector
• Cultural – common language, understanding of fashion trends in CIS
• Policies: from simple action to more sophisticated
• 2005: simplified taxation regime, low customs tariffs

Results of Government Policies in Textile and
Garment Sector

180.0

50

160.0

49

140.0

48

120.0

47

100.0

46

80.0

45

60.0

44

40.0

43

20.0

42

0.0

41
2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Share of women in total
employed of processing
industry
Textile industry growth index:
2008=100

2013

New challenges: 1. Closing up borders for Kyrgyz reexport by Customs Union that led to negative growth
of the sector in 2013-2014
2. Accession to Customs Union requires tougher
technical regulations and increase of customs import
tariffs for fabrics and apparel
Government response: Program of development of textile
and garment industry for 2013-2015. New measures:
1. Collaboration on new technical standards.
2. Creation of garment technopolis
3. Investment road-shows
4. New financing mechanisms
5. Textile sector’s reanimation
6. VET sector reforms
7. Development of national crafting industry
8. PPD in the sector

Labor Code and Other Measures
• Today the Labor Code includes a provision restricting heavy work with
reference to a list of industries and occupations from which women are
prohibited. Basically these are the occupations with traditionally high wages.
• A draft amended Labor Code is under consideration that does away with
specific prohibitions on women’s work but instead allows for reduced
working hours for any workers in industries, professions or occupations
classified as hazardous etc.
• According to the amendments to the Labor code, childcare leave can be
requested regardless of sex of the parent.
• Now information about newly issued vacancies must be presented to the
state employment service on the monthly basis.
• To ensure women’s economic integration it is planned to improve social
infrastructure, including building and renewing of children gardens, especially
in rural areas

Opportunities for Boosting Women’s Employment
Labor Legislation and Social Support:
• Finish Labor Code reforms: remove gender constraints on heavy work and ensure
implementation of last amendments on gender equality
• Marketization (privatization) of budget-funded social sectors (health and education) with some
cautions.
• Include gender sensitivity in rules of internal policy of enterprises
• Develop social infrastructure development program
Leadership and Governance
• Change leadership of WEE from NGO to real WBA
• Expand participation of women's business associations in decision-making at government level
• Introduce monitoring system for implementation of a National Action Plan for Gender Equality
into national and local authorities – include gender indicators on all governance levels.
• Create sustainable mechanism for protecting gender rights and investigating opportunities

Opportunities (cont.)
Education, Networking, Information and Research:
• Expand general training (financial literacy, export markets, labor market)
especially for unemployed women
• Reform VET sector and create market links with feminized industry
• Create a mentoring system in vocational training (and especially for disabled and
unemployed)
• Educate girls at school level on women’s economic opportunities
• Information campaigns in support of women's economic rights: as part of this is
to support Female Entrepreneurship Envoy Programs
• Wide use of motivational component (national awards)
• Increase research capacity on problems of women: Establishing a clear system of
grants for research at the level of R&D grants
• Use ICT for strengthening women’s economic opportunities, create informational
web resources

Opportunities (cont.)
Female Entrepreneurship:
• Combine efforts of the state, donors, and entrepreneurs to develop a
Women's Entrepreneurship Development Program
• Introduce specific components on women's entrepreneurship in donor
projects for private sector development
• Establish separate credit lines for women within the newly established
development institutions (Kyrgyz-Russian Development Fund, KyrgyzKazakh Direct Investment Fund)
• Integration of training in credit programs
• Gender sensitization of staff of these programs

• Increase representation of women at the level of corporate governance
• Legislated monitoring of representation of women on boards of directors of companies
• Quota for government-owned enterprises

Thank you for your attention!

rfhasanov@mail.ru
hasanov@investment.kg