To the inspiring women of Central Asia: Thank you!

On the one hand, we have the Soviet legacy of women’s emancipation, which not only allows, but actively encourages, women to engage in the wider economy through work as well as looking after children. On the other hand, with the collapse of the USSR, we have witnessed the revival of Islam, conservatism, and traditionalism, due primarily to the promotion of nationalism. Western donors, too, have influenced the situation by promoting gender equality and individual private property. Thus, women are caught between the Soviet heritage and strong nationalism, between conservative Islam and Western ideas.

It turns out kohl was also good for the health of the eyes, and the cosmetic’s manufacture relied on the world’s first known example of “wet chemistry”—the use of water to induce chemical reactions. Even as far back as the 14th century, famed Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta noted the industry of women in Turkic lands and how they took on public-facing roles more readily than their counterparts elsewhere. “There is a lot of movement that is reminiscent of nomadism that is involved in modern urbanization structures,” says Jonathan Washington, an expert on Kyrgyz language and culture at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Takes a weekly look at social changes and issues affecting daily life in Central Asia. Hosted by Bermet Talant, a journalist from Kyrgyzstan who is currently based in Sydney.

Central Asia was historically closely tied to the Silk Road trade routes, acting as a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe and the Far East. Protecting Rights, Saving Lives Human Right Watch defends the rights of people in 90 countries worldwide, spotlighting abuses and bringing perpetrators to justice. This photographic reproduction is therefore also considered to be in the public domain in the United States. In other jurisdictions, re-use of this content may be restricted; see Reuse of PD-Art photographs for details. The official position taken by the Wikimedia Foundation is that “faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain”.

  • If their husbands or a partner attend a mosque regularly, then the woman tries to stay within the rules of Islam depending also on her employment and living conditions.
  • Migrant population is young and older members of migrant families take care of the children left behind by those who go to Russia for work.
  • The Eastern Iranian Pashto language is still spoken in Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan.

This generation saw some of the Soviet life in form of education and even not depending on the age. They follow Soviet traditional Islam if given by their parents and if not they at least grew up socializing within a local tradition which has both Islamic and non-Islamic elements and the way Islam was understood during the Soviet Union.


Every major religion has passed through this area, such as Buddhism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, etc. Every artistic media, like sculptures, ceramics, cave paintings, has also flourished in this region. I already gave some introduction to the difference between post-Soviet Muslims and other Muslims in Islamic countries of the Middle East and Asia. Hijab-wearing came to Central Asia after the early 90s with the collapse of the Soviet Union as a popular way of presenting one`s religion. Why governments became sensitive about the new developments in the field of Islamic practices and representation?

In the summer, they were further socialized in summer camps, modeled after the famous Artek camp on the Black Sea. These mostly coeducational environments were a major departure from the gender segregation that had predominated in the region. They inculcated the young generation into a new, more egalitarian system of values. Some Central Asian women became artists, actresses, musicians, and dancers. Daughters of recently unveiled mothers were performing traditional dances previously reserved for men, while others mastered such Western forms of art as ballet and theater.

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I saw many women attending mosques similar to men seeking for opportunities and safety, which can be found in the mosque where the majority of migrants meet. There is not a better place to meet for free and in such bigger amounts as in a mosque considering overcrowded homes and expensive cafes. Soviet emancipation policies allowed and indeed pressured women to take part in the industrialized economy. They became factory workers, tractor drivers, and heads of collective brigades and farms.

The first few approved projects focused on supercomputers, space technologies, medicine, petroleum recycling, nanotechnologies and the ecological use of natural resources. Once these initial projects have spawned viable commercial products, the venture company plans to reinvest the profits in new projects. This venture company is not a purely economic structure; it has also been designed to promote a common economic space among the three participating countries. Kazakhstan recognises the role civil society initiatives have to address the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.