Women and girls in Turkmenistan have equal constitutional rights as men and boys.
Women and girls in Turkmenistan have equal constitutional rights as men and boys in the economic, political, cultural, and social fields, as well as in the family, and these rights are reinforced in the laws. Turkmenistan joined the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and adopted the Programme of Beijing Platform for Action of the IV World Conference on Women.
Women, for example, are entitled to 112 calendar days of maternity leave with 100 per cent of wages paid. Upon expiry of maternity leave, a woman is entitled to unpaid childcare leave until the child reached the age of three. The guarantees and privileges granted to women in connection with maternity also apply to fathers who bring up children without a mother, as well as guardians of minors.
Equal access to education is guaranteed in Turkmenistan, and there is gender parity in primary and secondary school enrolment rates of girls and boys. At the level of upper secondary specialized secondary and post-secondary education, however, enrolment rates for girls are lower than the rates for boys. The National Action Plan on Gender Equality for 2015-2020 recognizes this limitation and includes a strategic action of providing girls with consultations on choosing non-traditional professions, especially in the natural sciences and technology, as well as in the technical field.
Maternal mortality ratio in Turkmenistan has decreased from 82 in 1990 to 42 per 100,000 live births in 2015.
Turkmenistan has progressed towards gender equality and women’s empowerment over the last decade in terms of their representation at the decision-making level. The representation of women in politics is higher than average in the Central Asian region. The Parliament is led by a woman chairperson, and women account for 24.8 per cent of the 125 deputies in the Parliament.
Although there is constitutional equality between men and women, the persistence of discriminatory laws, social norms and practices and the inequalities experienced by the most marginalized groups of women and girls lead to actual gender inequality. Critical issues, such as violence against women, inequalities in the division of unpaid care work, women’s limited access to assets, violations of women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights, and their unequal participation in private and public decision-making beyond national parliaments, need to be adequately addressed.
UNICEF with other UN agencies promotes a multi-sectoral response in addressing gender-based inequality, which brings together several key sectors, including health and education sectors, legal and justice system, and social services.
UNICEF focuses on two accelerated programming in Turkmenistan. The first one is addressing adolescent girls’ health, with a focus on anemia prevention. The second one is addressing gender roles through early childhood development programming that promotes engaged fatherhood, reaches grandmother decision-makers and supports female health professionals, including skills building and access to ICT health tracking systems for patronage nurses.
Turkmenistan has progressed towards gender equality and women’s empowerment over the last decade in terms of their representation at the decision-making level.