One date, three views


The southern capital greeted International Women’s Day with rallies: three actions were held in different districts. At the same time, the city authorities abandoned the traditional cultural festivities.

The first little rally was held with the active support of the akimat on the square named after Shokan Ualikhanov. It was organized by the “League of Volunteers” PF and the Republican Public Association “Union of Parents of Kazakhstan”, thanks to whose efforts the city administration did not give permission to feminist initiatives to hold actions.

In spite of the fact that the action formally was dated for the international women’s day, the basic agenda became: propaganda of a healthy way of life, necessity of study and respect to the seniors. All this was mixed with patriotic rhetoric, quite far from the theme of the holiday.

It should be noted that the event was actively lobbied by the Akimat. For several months, the city authorities forbade other initiatives to hold their events on this day, because “…PF “League of Volunteers” could not decide on the time…”.

In spite of the fact that, as it is customary in such cases, the crowd for the event was organized not without the use of administrative resources, about 300 people attended the meeting, which was convenient for the Akimat. The youth was more busy with communication with each other than with the speakers from the stage.

The second meeting was held in parallel with the first one in the square named after Mahatma Gandhi. Here, about 60 activists from the Women’s Movement of Kazakhstan demanded that the state lower the retirement age to 58 for an hour and a half.

According to the speakers, the pension reform is directed first of all against elderly people, as many of them do not live till their deserved rest. Moreover, the pre-retirement years are spent in want and at the limit of human capabilities: many employers do not want to see “pensioners”, and they do not have the former strength to compete with younger staff.

Despite the urgency of the topic for all Kazakhstan citizens, the main participants of the action were women 50+.

Last meeting on March 8 in Almaty was the brightest and most numerous. Up to a thousand people gathered to express their demands for women’s rights, including civil and political rights.

The rally began with a minute of silence in memory of those who died of domestic violence last year. This was followed by a short performance on violence against women.

Participants and participants held placards on which, among other things, were written demands for laws protecting women, an increase in the number of women in politics, and stricter penalties for harassment and violence.

During their speeches, the speakers demanded that the state pass laws on domestic violence and its criminalization, as well as against harassment.

This year’s rally was also planned to be combined with a march under the slogan: “For bodily autonomy against sexualized violence”. According to the initiators of the event, the facts of violence against many women in Kazakhstan remain unpunished. But, as indicated earlier, initially the akimat refused in principle to coordinate these mass events. But, after a series of protests, the local authorities decided to partially satisfy the request of the activists. However, like real strong men akimatovs insured, so the entire area of the rally was cordoned off by police, even the military was on duty in the distance.

Nevertheless, the majority of Almaty women met this day either in the family circle or in public catering establishments, not caring in any way about the problems of “health and patriotism”, nor about the unattainable retirement age, let alone about the violation of civil, social and political rights.