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National leader Heydar Aliyev`s women policy lies behind the success of Azerbaijani woman

Interview with  Member of YAP Board of Directors, chairperson of YAP Women`s Council, Director of Azerbaijan State Pedagogical College Nurlana Aliyeva

Q: Ms Aliyeva, what is the Azerbaijani women`s mood on the eve of March 8 holiday? What is the role of the Azerbaijani woman in the society`s development and prosperity?

A: March 8 is the holiday of the Azerbaijani woman, and is one of the best holidays in our calendar.

The growing role of women in Azerbaijan`s socio-political life is one of the most remarkable achievements of our national statehood history. This success is based on rich traditions of the activity of women in politics in Azerbaijan on the one hand, and women policy priorities of the Azerbaijani government on the other.

Women in Azerbaijan play a significant role in preserving national and moral values, and our traditions.

National leader Heydar Aliyev`s women policy lies behind the success of Azerbaijani woman. The national leader`s return to power in 1993 marked a turning point in the development of women`s movement in Azerbaijan. Thanks to the great leader`s wise, well thought-out policy the role and place of the Azerbaijani woman in society strengthened considerably.

The State Committee for Women`s Problems established in accordance with national leader Heydar Aliyev`s order in 1998 reflected the attitude of the state to the gender equality. National leader signed the order on increasing the attention to women`s policy and this field.

And today we witness the government`s high attention to women and their problems. And the Women`s Council too pays special attention to promoting women with organizational and leadership skills.

As a result of wise and well-considered policy, women in Azerbaijan enjoy activity in all spheres of life. Women are represented in government and decision-making bodies. The special weight of women in public service has grown in Azerbaijan. The number of women in the parliament is also growing. The number of women elected to municipalities increased. Women are actively working in different areas of science, literature and art.

The government of Azerbaijan attaches particular emphasis to ensuring gender equality in the country. In 2006, the parliament of Azerbaijan adopted a law on gender equality, in 2010, it passed a law on prevention of domestic violence.

Q: What is the role of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs in the life of women?

A: The year 1998 went down in the history of the modern women`s movement in Azerbaijan. I would call it a golden year for the Azerbaijani women. It probably laid the foundation of present-day success of women in our country. National leader Heydar Aliyev signed an executive order on the establishment of the State Committee for Women`s Problems. Thanks to the great leader the government of Azerbaijan proved that is it not indifferent to problems of women. The President`s executive order on measures to increase the role of Azerbaijani women was an expression of great importance placed by the government on women`s labour, talent and potential.

In 1998 another congress of the Azerbaijani women was held after a 26 year long break. The two-day conference was attended by more than 2,000 women delegates. This conference marked a turning point in the public and political life of the Azerbaijani women. In his speech at the congress, the national leader said: “I think that this assembly is one of the historical events in the history. With this assembly the Azerbaijani women are establishing the women`s movement and activity in Azerbaijan. You are doing a great job. I congratulate you. The Azerbaijani women are always known for their intelligence, wisdom, honor, diligence, courage, patriotism, loyalty and beauty. Our women have always worked a lot. Azerbaijan has and had prominent female figures.

The 20th century is the age of big achievements for the Azerbaijani women.”

Two years late national leader Heydar Aliyev signed another important order related to women. It was remarkable because it covered all spheres of women`s life. It was an order on the implementation of the women`s policy in Azerbaijan.

In March, 2000 the President of Azerbaijan signed the Decree "On Implementation of the National Gender Policy in the Republic of Azerbaijan". This act envisaged the ensuring of equal representation of women and men in all state structures of the Republic; providing the refugee and internally displaced women with working places by preparing the relevant state program; reviewing the legislation with taking into account the gender aspects.

Q: President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO goodwill ambassador, MP Mehriban Aliyeva is a role model for the Azerbaijani women. We would like to learn your opinion on this…

A: First lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO goodwill ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva with her multifaceted activity is a role model for women of Azerbaijan.

Analyzing the work of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, marveling with the diversity, ambitiousness and, most importantly, success of practically all ideas and projects of the little crew, gives an impression that the irreplaceable Leader of the team is capable of forming a sensible hierarchy of problems and reacting to public requests.

In the first years of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the priority issues were reconstruction and modernization of orphanages and boarding schools, support of vulnerable parts of the population. Mehriban Aliyeva was focusing on problems of children, orphans for ten years, helping with problems of daily graft, health, psychological and social rehabilitation of young citizens deprived of parental care.

Later, the line of construction and capital reconstruction of schools all over the republic were added to the strategic task. At some moment, healthcare, public attention towards genetic diseases, support for children, people suffering from diabetes, thalassaemia, oncology became priority issues. From the first days of the Foundation’s progress, Mehriban Aliyeva could not ignore problems of spiritual, cultural value, such as promotion of classic and Mugham musical heritage, acquainting foreigners with the priceless monuments of material culture of Azerbaijani people, formation of correct understanding of processes in Azerbaijan among world elites, in particular, around the Nagorno-Karabakh problem and the conflict with Armenia and etc.

Today the goals the Heydar Aliyev Foundation was pursuing during the first years of its existence have become much more ambitious. The foundation successfully cooperates with various non-governmental, public and governmental organizations. The programme of modernization of state schools and technical schools, higher educational institutions and academies is being continued, the medical centres are being built, a special programme has been launched in order to return orphans to their biological families to provide them with new parents, many non-governmental organizations are engaged in charity and patronize child institutions etc.

As you know the fifth Congress of the New Azerbaijan Party elected president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO goodwill ambassador, MP Mehriban Aliyeva as deputy chairwoman of YAP. This was a very remarkable event for all our women. At the same time, this means additional responsibility for us because Mehriban Aliyev is a model to follow for Azerbaijani women.

The first lady successfully chaired the organizing committee of the Eurovision song contest, and thanks to her efforts the event was successfully organized in Azerbaijan.

Now the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation chairs the organizing committee of the first European Games to be held in our country this year. Under her guidance the committee is carrying out high-level preparations for the European Games.

Q: YAP Women`s Council plays an important role in increasing women`s involvement in the country`s public and political life...

A: The activities of women in the party were the major issue on the agenda of the republican conference of the Women`s Council.

The Women`s Council of our party was founded on the initiative of national leader Heydar Aliyev in 1995. This wise step of the national leader increased the flow of women to the party. Today women make 47.8 percent of the membership of the New Azerbaijan Party.

We, women members of the party, are committed to serving the government of Azerbaijan, developing the country, preserving stability.

YAP Women`s Council is loyal to ideas of national leader Heydar Aliyev and policy of President Ilham Aliyev. Our council is closely involved in the country`s public and political life.

Q: What can you say of the right of women to elect and be elected in Azerbaijan?

A: At last year`s municipal elections our women members were very active. In comparison with previous years, the percentage of women`s representation in elections considerably grew.  The last municipal elections saw the number of women members reach 35.6 percent. This was conditioned by image and influence of the New Azerbaijan party.  And certainly this was possible thanks to continuation of the national leader`s policy by President Ilham Aliyev.