Women’s Rights to Land and Natural Resources in Kyrgyzstan: Findings from Batken, Chui, Naryn and Jalalabad Oblasts
Speaker: Ailey Hughes
Date: 30 October 2012, 4 pm
Venue: University of Central Asia, 138 Toktogul Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Conference Room.
This presentation examines women’s land and natural resource rights in practice in rural Kyrgyzstan. Women’s rights to productive resources have been linked to increases in household food security, economic development and children’s education, and access to land and natural resources confers economic benefits through agricultural production, access to collateral, and rental and sales income. When women have rights to land and natural resources, they have a semblance of economic security, the benefits of which are realized by the entire household. Yet, customary practices in Kyrgyzstan restrict women’s rights to these critical resources. While women’s rights to land are supported by formal law, customary rules prevail in regards to the use, allocation and inheritance of land, making it difficult for women to exercise ownership and control rights. This lecture presents findings based on qualitative field research conducted in four villages of Kyrgyzstan. The research project sought to understand women’s rights to land in practice, as compared to women’s rights to land under law. Through key informant interviews, focus groups and participatory exercises, the project found that women in the four sites often relinquish their rights to land and natural resources to their husbands, fathers or brothers. Thus, though women’s rights to land under statutory law are equal to those of men, women still do not fully exercise their rights to land and natural resources. The study will offer potential interventions for improving women’s rights in rural Kyrgyzstan.
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Ailey Kaiser Hughes is a Fulbright Research Scholar at the Mountain Societies Research Centre of the University of Central Asia. She has worked as a Land Tenure Specialist at Landesa, where she conducted field research on customary land tenure practices in Liberia; led the development of a web-based education tool on land and resource rights in Ghana, Mali and Mozambique; and drafted profiles for USAID highlighting land and natural resource tenure issues in 56 countries. Ailey has a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Washington, with a Graduate Certificate in International Development Management. Earlier, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bazar-Korgon, Kyrgyzstan and an English Language Teacher in rural Japan.
The presentation will be conducted in English. Russian translation provided upon prior request.