Leadership for Kyrgyz Women will remain for a long time – expert

March 5, 2013, 06:00

David Gauzere, a scholar of Central Asia from the University of Bordeaux, talked about the unique characteristics and qualities of women in Central Asia in an interview with the French-language site Francekoul.com.

According to Gauzere, unique women leaders in the region are found particularly in Kyrgyzstan. This is the result of the intermingling of two religions. Women leaders, such as Umai-ene, mother earth and the wife of Tengre, first appeared in the Yenisei cradle of the Kyrgyz. Additionally, in the Manas epic is written that, during Manas’ campaigns, his wife Kanykei took upon herself management of the tribes. But, according to the scholar, the most famous female leader was and will remain Kurmanjan Datka, who was able to preserve the political legacy during the difficult circumstances after the death of her husband, Alymbek Datka.

“Kurmanjan Datka inspired other women politicians in Central Asia. First in the, as was said by Soviet authorities at the time, “fight against religious obscurantism”, which relied on strong women. The most famous of these women was Urkuya Salieva, who became the first female freedom fighter in the first years of Soviet power, and Zuurakan Kainazarova, who was thrice awarded the honor of Hero of Labor,” the expert said.

The expert noted, in particular, Roza Otunbayeva, the first female president of a Central Asian state.

Roza Otunbayeva, a professor of philosophy and experienced diplomat, entered the interim presidency without hesitation. She laid the study of Kurmanjan Datka as the foundation of her own authority. Additionally, Roza Otunbayeva also had to put out the fire of interethnic riots in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2012. In my mind, leadership for Kyrgyz women will remain for a long time,” Gauzere concluded.