How are women treated in Kazakhstan

Marriage in the Interest of the State - Brochure Review for Wives

While Kazakhstan reports on the development of gender equality, dozens of projects that contribute to the suppression of women in marriage receive financial support from the state budget. Including the social fund project Center for Integrated Family Support: Family academy, that wants to strengthen the family institution and its values. Aısulu Toıshibekova looked at their brochure and was enraged. Your analysis for Vlast.kz we accept with kind permission.

It is another brainwashing process for young women: The brochure “Marriage - A Tricky Business. Choose your partner for life! ”By Madina Baıbolova. It was issued with government funding and placed on the country's official website, where it offers its view of marriage and family, and the roles and responsibilities of women (which the brochure says is huge). The message is addressed to young women "Who want to find their second half and want to build a strong family, as well as everyone who has general questions about marriage and family." Whatever the foreword, it is perfectly evident that the author is addressing girls only with a position that tells what they must do to enter a successful marriage.

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I have to mention: The brochure says that marriage should not be the goal of one's whole life and that it should follow the proverbial censorship of old age "The clock is already ticking" should orient. Nevertheless, their content would hardly stand up to criticism from a feminist perspective. And here are the reasons for that.

“Men, hunters by nature…”

Each page of the booklet has its own topic about how women can prepare for marriage. Accordingly, a girl has to meet a whole list of criteria in order to be worthy of a man's love and to be able to get married. The reader is immediately asked what she can bring into a marriage and see it as an analogy to job placement. Human qualities such as wisdom, caring and kindness should always be cultivated, while immaturity, naughtiness and selfishness should be combated from the outset.

According to the author, millennials belong to the second category [young generation, born around the turn of the millennium. So today 15-30 year olds, note d. Red.], which she considers a spoiled and self-loving generation that doesn't care about others. In doing so, Baıbolova levels her belief in herself and in the unlimited possibilities that lie ahead of her."People have forgotten how to respect the rights of others while still demanding to be respected and understood," Baıbolova writes in a brochure in which she herself tells women who they should be. The brochure turns out to be one-sided and useful only on one side: that of the men and their parents, of course.

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After her report on the Millennials, the author makes an unpleasant verdict: "Statistics about the end of marriages are particularly sad among young graduates from prestigious universities whose parents have done everything for them but forgot to explain to them that they are not at the center of the universe."

The really sad thing is not the experience of these young people who decide to divorce, but that the author persuades young girls that they have to endure everything and be afraid of their ambitions and instead try to become a better wife. In the course of the nineteen pages about the Kelin (bride in the first year of marriage, editor's note), Madina Baıbolova draws a picture of spherical men in a vacuum, for which every girl has to strive for an ideal, and which of course in everything must suffice.

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And what would brainwashing be without the subject of femininity and tenderness and esoteric banter about the energy of the masculine and feminine? All of that can be found in abundance here. For example, if you open the door to yourself without waiting for a man to do it for you, then you are not feminine enough; Men feel this energy because they are the hunter, whereas women are not: “Men, who are hunters by nature, notice the woman before she does. This gives them the ability to quickly assess how the woman behaves in life (how she looks, speaks, dresses, what people are close to her). If he does not like what he sees, he does not reveal himself in your energy field and bypasses it undetected. Because a good man keeps his happiness for those who can make him happy. Always remember it! "

Marriage as an unequal barter

With its absurdity, the brochure triggered a storm of negative emotions. The brochure is no longer up-to-date in 2020 (just as it has not been in the last few decades), because the nature of family relationships between women and men is reduced to trading relationships with an exchange character, in which the woman always takes the lower position compared to the man. The humiliating tone with which the author teaches young girls how to adapt to their husbands hits our everyday lives. You know that just as you know that two and two make four. Follow the guidelines, work on yourself, assert yourself, be pleasant and patient - this is the only way you will receive your right to love. And if you are successful with these things, then your personal run around the seven circles of feminist hell will only begin, because once the marriage has been concluded, the woman has to work for two: be soft, be patient, be sexual, always look adorable and be ready to admire the husband's ideas while waiting with an open heart and soul for his relatives, even at two o'clock at night.

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Madina Baıbolova writes in all seriousness that girls should forget their professional ambitions for the sake of men and instead work as freelancers in order to work less and devote more time to household chores: “The optimal option for wives nowadays is to work as a freelancer over the Internet, in the Instagram business, in consulting, and other work that allows a flexible schedule. In this way, the husband can return home to a woman who has been waiting for him with anticipation and has prepared the meal, and not to a comrade who has also only just returned from the battlefield. "

Both through the flower and directly, the author explains to young girls that a divorce is bad because the marriage should be unique and last forever. Such moral sermons are popular in the country, which is why they receive substantial subsidies from the state coffers. I remember the social fund Center for Integrated Family Support: Family academy, which produced not only these brochures, but also other brochures. The Union of Crisis Centers of Kazakhstan also received financing worth around 300 million tenge (around 663,000 euros), for the opening of a psychological center that is supposed to redirect married couples and bring them to reconciliation before the divorce. The goal of the project: bring divorce rates down.

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Divorce is not an end in itself and registered marriages are not an indicator of good politics, but the state sees it differently and contradicts itself - what is on paper is one thing and what happens in real life is a completely different matter. In official documents, for example the concept of the family and gender policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan until 2030, it is stated that increasing equality leads to an increase in the responsibility of all family members "In the domestic, economic, moral and security areas" contributes. That is, by having the same rights for all and a balanced responsibility, all family members can make more balanced decisions that must be respected, both inside and outside the family.

The divorce rate as the only success indicator for the state

In reality, however, we are seeing active policies that encourage the prejudice that women have the greatest responsibility for family cohesion. How can that be united? By supporting the same projects. Instead of developing true gender equality, efforts are focused on avoiding divorce. One of the success indicators of the concept is to reduce the number of dissolved marriages by 25 percent by 2030. But the number of divorces is not the root of the problem. The problem is that Kazakh society sees marriage as an easy way to climb the ladder of society.

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Rather than creating equal opportunities for both sexes and helping women become less dependent on their husbands and marriage, both financially and socially, the state is spending millions stigmatizing divorce and intimidating as many people as possible by encouraging psychological pressure. Today, organizations receive funding for projects that spread gender stereotypes and instill meekness in girls and the willingness to take on a passive and service-oriented role within a family. That is certainly not what I and thousands of women across Kazakhstan want to see in 2030 and the state will have to accept that.

Aısulu Toıshibekova for Vlast.kz

Translated from the Russian by Julia Tappeiner

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