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Dr. Leila Alieva stressed in her opening remarks, that one of the first decrees of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918 was the Law on equal voting rights of men and women, which was earlier than in some European states.According to one of the surveys Finland has been chosen by the respondents as the most preferred country to live in. Leila Alieva further mentioned, “Indeed it might not be a pure coincidence, that until recentlyFinlandwas the country where the key positions in power are occupied by women.
The professor of theAkdeniz UniversityinAntalya,Turkey, Dr. Shahin Filiz, a prominent human rights defender, who visited Azerbaijan by the invitation of the CNIS said, “Back in the past Ataturk said that the right to administer belonged to women.. The scholar recalling that women’s’ rights have been observed in the Turkic world throughout the history alsosaid, “Unlike in some other parts of the world, like for instance, among the Arabs, in the pre-Isamic period, in the Turkic world women were not perceived as items that can be purchased or sold-; they even enjoyed equal rights with men”. In the contemporaryTurkeyone of the key issues concerning women’s’ rights is the women’s’ head cover. He stressed selective character of picking the norms from the religious book, which result in restriction of women’s rights. Dr. Filiz noted, that these are the rights of women, which suffer first, when the religion politicize, including Islam.
Ruhengiz Huseynova, the leader of the “Solidarity among Women” NGO talked about the cases of violation of women’s’ rights,including the early marriages, domestic violence. “ She stressed, that not allAzerbaijan’s neighbors are friendly states. . “In order to weaken our country these states spread their influence, which restricts the women’s’ rights and which many witnesses today, said Ruhangiz Huseynova. She also expressed the opinion, that while she approaches the right of women to wear a head cover with respect , rather than making the child to cover her head, she would postpone it to the age of 18, so the women would make a conscience choice on this matter. Leila Alieva commented on the psychological meaning of some gestures and types of clothing, stressing that too much covered head and body ( similarly to the fences or non transparent walls in architecture) may indicate lack of social trust.
Approximately 40 representatives of the community of the region participated in the conference where presentations were followed by the heated discussions. especially on the religious aspects of women’s’ rights’s issue.
The conference was held with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).