Kyrgyz president grants women 30% quota for state positions

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BISHKEK, March 23 (RIA Novosti, Yulia Orlova) - The leader of one of the poorest nations in the former Soviet Union Wednesday took an unprecedented step to elevate the status of women in the country.

"Women should have at least 30% representation in state bodies and local governments, including in decision-making positions," says a decree signed by Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

The president said "conditions should be created to achieve women's empowerment," which was also part of "the country's international obligations."

All of the country's draft laws and regulations will now be subject to mandatory "gender appraisal."

"I was asked what would happen if the 'woman quota' were applied to the defense minister's position," Bakiyev said. "I am sure there will be women who will rise to the challenge."

He said that, in his experience, "women are less prone to corruption and have a higher sense of responsibility."

The decree, entitled On Measures to Improve Gender Policy, orders the heads of state agencies and local government bodies to provide equal employment opportunities for women and men in the country, which has a population of just over five million.

Currently, the migration minister is only woman in the Kyrgyz Cabinet, and there are no female members of the country's 75-seat parliament.

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