Azerbaijan gender profile

2007-04-14 18:01:00

With the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Azerbaijan experienced economic disintegration and political turmoil. Economic growth has since picked up pace, driven by the country’s rich reserves in oil and gas. Still, almost half the inhabitants live below the national poverty line and 13 per cent are extremely poor. Agriculture, including livestock production, employs just under half the population, with small-scale farmers producing about 96 per cent of agricultural output. Conflict with neighbouring Armenia led to the displacement of almost one million people, with 15 per cent of the current population living as refugees and internally displaced persons.

AzerbaijanPoverty affects men and women almost equally in Azerbaijan, though women are at a higher risk of being unemployed. Women across the region marry young, on average before reaching the age of 24, and cultural perceptions that women should not work discourages many of them from seeking employment outside the home, especially in rural areas.

Women tend to dominate some sectors of the economy. They make up 70 per cent of educators and 57 per cent of those working in social services - both areas with lower wages than other vocations, and as a result, lower status. Agriculture employs over 30 per cent of women. Many men also work in agriculture but they have better access than women to business support services, training and education, which contribute to better work opportunities and higher pay.

On average, a woman in Azerbaijan earns only 57 per cent of a man’s salary. The disparity in wages is partly due to the fact that men tend to occupy management positions, which pay more. Women may also be unable to work because they cannot find safe and affordable day care. Not only do women have fewer job possibilities and lower salaries, they also have fewer benefits, shorter contracts and inferior working conditions.

When it comes to starting small and medium-sized enterprises, women face major obstacles. They lack business experience and have more limited access to credit than men. Azeri culture also has a negative image of career women, perhaps explaining why only 17 per cent of women own businesses.

Following independence, many men were unable to cope with the changing market conditions and chose to migrate abroad in search of work. This depleted the number of men in many villages and left women with a double burden of childcare and supporting their family, often by taking on heavy agricultural work. The resulting gender imbalance has contributed to the increasingly common, but illegal phenomenon of men starting second families, especially in rural areas. A growing number of men return home in poor health, mainly due to bad working conditions, increasing the double burden of women. The most disadvantaged groups within Azeri society are rural women, second wives and displaced women.

A lack of economic opportunity contributes to the risk of women being trafficked - a relatively new problem in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan acts mostly as a country of transit for trafficked persons, a result of its geographic location and porous borders. In addition, police officers have limited experience in dealing with trafficking and there are no laws specifically targeting those who engage in trafficking - two factors increasing the country’s vulnerability to the practice. In 2004 the country adopted the National Plan on Combating Trafficking. The plan is designed to protect and defend victims, including by implementing measures so victims can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

Although equal rights for men and women are guaranteed under Azeri laws, gender inequality persists. In 1998 the Government established a state committee on women's issues to protect women’s rights and to enact measures to empower them.
The National Plan of Action on Women’s Policy, which was drafted by this Committee and approved by the Cabinet of Ministries in March 2000, sets out priorities for achieving gender equality. It is not as strong as it could be because there are no clear mechanisms for monitoring implementation. More progress may be made once the Government follows through on its intention to incorporate the Plan of Action into the State Programme on Poverty reduction and Economic Development.

Source: IFAD, http://www.ifad.org/english/gender/cen/profiles/aze.htm 

 

Facts and figures
  • There are 8.2 million people living in Azerbaijan; 51 per cent are women
  • About 45 per cent of the population lives below the national poverty line
  • Around 13 per cent of the population is extremely poor, depending primarily on agriculture to earn a living
  • Unemployment affects close to 10 per cent of men and 12 per cent of women
  • State jobs in education and services employ 32 per cent of working women
  • Cultural perceptions prevent many women from seeking work. Of the total population not searching for a job, almost three-quarters are women
  • Conflict with neighbouring Armenia has created one million refugees and internally displaced persons
  • More than 20 per cent of Azeri households are headed by women
  • Women hold a little over 10 per cent of seats in Parliament

Azerbaijan statistics

General country information

Human Development
Index (HDI) 1
Country
Gross National Income
(GNI) per capita
($) 2
Population
(%) 2
Rank
Value
Rural Urban
1
0.963
Norway
43,350
21
79
72
0.780
Albania
1,740
56
44
100
0.732
Georgia
830
48
52
101
0.729
Azerbaijan
810
50
50
115
0.671
Moldova, Rep. of
590
54
46

 

Gender-related development 

Gender- Related
Development
Index (GDI) 1

Country
Life expectancy at birth 1
Adult literacy
rate 1
Rank
Value
Female
Male
Female
Male
1
0.960
Norway
81.9
76.8
99
99
56
0.776
Albania
76.7
71.0
98.3
99.2
n/a
n/a
Georgia
74.3
66.6
993
99
77
0.725
Azerbaijan
70.5
63.2
98.2
99.5
91

0.668

Moldova, Rep. of
71.3

63.9

95.0

97.5

 

Gender- Related
Development
Index (GDI) 1

Country

Unemployment 2

Rank

Value

Female

Male

Total

1
0.960

Norway

4
4
4
56
0.776
Albania
28
19
23

n/a

n/a

Georgia

11

12

11

77

0.725

Azerbaijan

124

10

11

91

0.668

Moldova, Rep. of

6

9

7

 

Gender- Related
Development
Index (GDI) 1
Country
Estimated earned
income 1
Ratio of estimated
Female to
male income 1
Seats in
parliament 
Women
(% of total)1
Rank
Value
Female
Male
1
0.960
Norway
32,272
43,148
0.75
38.2
56
0.776
Albania
3,266
5,836
0.56
6.4
n/a
n/a
Georgia
1,566
3,715
0.42
9.4
77
0.725
Azerbaijan
2,683
4,591
0.58
10.5
91
0.668
Moldova, Rep. of
1,200
1,850
0.65
15.8

 

1/ UNDP Human Development Report, 2005

2/ World Bank, World Development Indicators, 2004

3/ State Department of Statistics, 2004

4/ According to the results of a Labour Force Survey, State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan Republic, Baku, 2003)

 

U.S. State Department: Azerbaijan is primarily a source and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor

Trafficking in Persons Report -Report Home Page Released by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons June 5, 2006 Azerbaijan is primarily a source and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most Azerbaijani victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation to Turkey and the Persian Gulf. Other destinations include Russia, Germany, and Greece. Reports of internal trafficking also continued, as did reports of men trafficked to Turkey and Russia for forced labor. The Government of Azerbaijan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government undertook important steps to prevent and combat trafficking during the reporting period. In 2005, the government passed anti-trafficking legislation, appointed a new national anti-trafficking coordinator, fully vetted the staff of an anti-trafficking police unit, nearly completed renovations of a trafficking shelter, and created two new trafficking hotlines. The government should take immediate and tangible steps to improve victim rehabilitation by opening, adequately staffing, and fully funding its shelter for trafficking victims. It should also implement a nation-wide victim referral mechanism so that law enforcement personnel improve identification and protection of trafficking victims. Prosecution In 2005, the Government of Azerbaijan adopted its Law on the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons and adopted corresponding amendments to the criminal code. The law covers trafficking for both forced labor and sexual exploitation and carries a maximum penalty of 10 to 12 years. Due to the late passage of the criminal code amendments, however, the government continued to use older trafficking-related laws to prosecute traffickers in 2005. During the reporting period, the government opened 160 trafficking investigations and prosecuted 153 cases, resulting in 93 convictions. By the end of the reporting period, 37 traffickers were in prison. The government gave fines to 26 convicted traffickers and gave suspended sentences to 10 convicted traffickers in 2005. During the reporting period, the government completed a thorough vetting process, including conducting exams and background investigations, for its anti-trafficking police unit to ensure the unit meets international standards. The Ministry of Interior worked with customs and border officials to monitor and identify potential trafficking victims at airports, seaports, and land crossings and in January 2006 announced the disruption of a transnational trafficking ring. The Azerbaijani Government cooperated with U.S. counterparts to provide critical information for the prosecution of a U.S. trafficking case involving Azerbaijani victims in 2005. Reports of border guards and law enforcement officials receiving bribes to facilitate trafficking continued. The government established an anti-corruption commission last year to address pervasive corruption. Protection The Government of Azerbaijan continued to provide an inadequate level of assistance and support to victims in 2005. During the reporting period, the government failed to develop or implement a formal screening and referral mechanism to identify and assist victims. Although officials informally referred victims to state healthcare facilities, these facilities lack the capacity to provide the required specialized treatment or information for victims of trafficking. Some police referred victims to NGOs; however, a lack of adequate shelters in Azerbaijan forced NGO workers to use their own homes to shelter victims. The government made significant progress constructing and renovating a new trafficking shelter during the reporting period; the shelter is expected to open in spring 2006. Prevention The Government of Azerbaijan established two nation-wide trafficking hotlines in 2005. During the reporting period, the government conducted joint seminars with NGOs on trafficking throughout Azerbaijan, demonstrating increased interaction with civil society on trafficking. The State Committee on Women, Children and Families incorporated trafficking prevention into its education and trainings that targeted women from all sectors of society. The anti-trafficking coordinator led the government's inter-agency task force in coordinating communication among agencies.

Source: http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm

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