Advancing Legal Protection for Women in Tajikistan | IREX – Civil Society, Education and Media Development

Posted: April 23, 2012 in History, Human Rights, International, Journalism, Language, Law, Region, Relations, Tajikistan, Women
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Mufara Hamidova provides legal assistance to women in Tajikistan on issues ranging from domestic violence to early marriage. As a manager at the League of Women Lawyers of Tajikistan, she addresses domestic issues through litigation and mediation and also uses media and trainings to inform community groups about the legal status of young girls getting married and the legal and psychological consequences of early marriage. For more on early marriage in Tajikistan, click here.

As a 2011 LEAD fellow, she is studying at the University of Missouri-Kansas City this year and is accompanied by her husband and three-year-old son. Recently Mufara answered IREX’s questions about her legal work assisting women in Tajikistan and how she juggles a demanding legal career, family responsibilities, and coursework for a graduate degree in the US.

What legal challenges do women face in Tajikistan?

Right now, we don’t really have domestic violence laws in Tajikistan. We have a criminal court, which protects some rights of women if they are physically abused. There is an association of women NGOs beginning to work on domestic laws. Some people have the mentality that family business is private, and the government shouldn’t get in the way. The government is starting to address these issues, though. So we ask women to get medical checks and get experts to provide evidence. We help monitor families and advise women how to get treated, which has been effective.

What challenges do you face managing your professional and personal demands?

Here, I see women being able to have a career and be independent. They are more empowered in the United States. In Tajikistan, depending on the family, most women with careers are divorced, single, or older. I didn’t become a full attorney because it’s not easy as a woman to be an attorney and at the same time handle a family and child. My husband is open-minded, but I still have many obligations. He’s watching the child during the day, but I’m cooking and cleaning and studying. I appreciate what he’s doing – he is part of a new generation of men in Tajikistan.

What is one thing you have learned that you will take back with you to Tajikistan?

I have learned so much in three months. I’m considering working part-time at a university to teach gender issue law and be part of changes in the young generation’s views toward women. I want to go back with a deep sense of the US legal system and an understanding of how women are protected by laws and government in the United States. I would like to share my views and knowledge with my colleagues.

How will your fellowship in the US apply to your work in Tajikistan?

Of course, family issues everywhere are the same. But how the law works is totally different, and it also depends on social issues. I’m learning more the procedures of family relationships and obligations, and currently I am learning about divorce. I am assessing how women are empowered after the divorce. In our case, when a Tajik woman gets divorced, she leaves with her children and returns to her parents’ home, but here, the law protects women and children. So women are able to maintain their assets, and both parents have an obligation to raise and support their children even if they are not in a relationship.

The Legal Education and Development (LEAD) Fellowship Program for Tajikistan is a program of IREX and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and is funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the United States Department of State.

via Advancing Legal Protection for Women in Tajikistan | IREX – Civil Society, Education and Media Development.

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