Thu, 07 Jul 2022

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): Kazakhstan will host the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions to discuss the role of faith leaders in the socio-spiritual development of humanity in the post-pandemic period.

One of the sections of the Congress will be dedicated to the contribution of women to the well-being and sustainable development of society.

Deputy Chairperson of the Presidential National Commission on Women Affairs and Demographic Policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Lazzat Ramazanova, in a statement emphasized the significance of women's roles as peacemakers, supporters of non-violence and tolerance, and stressed their contribution to interfaith harmony and dialogue between different cultures and civilizations.

Moreover, religion has historically been more associated with men. This is unsurprising given that for years women have struggled to gain equality in all areas of life--from the home to the workplace, and especially in positions of leadership. Yet religion plays a significant role in the lives of women. In the United States alone, 86% of women are affiliated with a religion, with 63% saying that religion is important in their lives, the statement read.

An International Peace Institute study of 182 signed peace agreements between 1989 and 2011 found that when women are included in peace processes, there is a 35 per cent increase in the probability that a peace agreement will last 15 years or more.

Between 1992 and 2019, women constituted, on average, 13 per cent of negotiators, 6 per cent of mediators, and 6 per cent of signatories in major peace processes around the world. In this regard, it is important to note that Kazakhstan adopted its first National Action Plan on UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security agenda in December 2021.

It is therefore vital that societies promote the inclusion of women in efforts to build bridges between communities and countries, particularly those with varying religious beliefs and ethnicities.

The objective is to find ways for religious leaders to make and consider proposals on promoting the role of women.

Over the last few years, Kazakhstan has made significant efforts in promoting gender equality in society with positive results. Women make up 48.1 per cent of the workforce in the country and 48.9 per cent of workers. Women are highly represented in businesses. The number of women-led businesses increased by 9.1 per cent over the year and reached 625,100 companies by the end of 2021. The number of female entrepreneurs under 29 also increased by 37.2 per cent and reached 88,700 people. Women's entrepreneurship contributes about 40 per cent to the country's GDP. The progress achieved to date showcases the importance and meaningful contribution of women to the economy.

There is, of course, room for improvement. For example, in terms of the gender pay gap, men earn 21.7 per cent more than women in similar sectors. Nevertheless, the government of Kazakhstan has made the promotion and protection of women a top priority. Last year, President Tokayev signed a decree "On further measures of Kazakhstan in the field of human rights", which includes the elimination of discrimination against women. The discussion of the role of women at the upcoming Congress is very much in line with the government's priorities.

According to the statement, Kazakhstan is also home to more than 100 ethnicities and representatives of 18 religious groups. Such level of diversity in the country has encouraged us to convene the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which has been held in Kazakhstan since 2003.

As the role of women in society continues to expand and gender equality becomes a greater goal, it is important to ensure that women are also able to play a key role in interfaith work, as well as in peacebuilding and mediation. To resolve many of the current global challenges, including geopolitical crises and ongoing conflicts, it is necessary to utilise the skills that women possess.

While just one event will not solve this issue outright, the upcoming VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions will contribute to consolidating efforts in achieving progress in eliminating gender imbalance in religion, and developing new ideas and recommendations on expanding the role of women, Lazzat Ramazanova said in the statement. (ANI)

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