6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where we are?

While Azerbaijan has made a good progress to meet the target of eliminating gender disparities in education, continued attention is required to ensuring gender equality in decision-making as it remains below average for upper middle income countries.

Azerbaijani women have high education level (99.5 percent), however in the recent years the tendency of early school drop out for girls was identified. In general, higher education in Azerbaijan is viewed as an important pre-requisite for a secure future, and gender disparities at the tertiary level of education are minimal (45.9 vs. 54.1 per cent in 2011). However, on the doctorate level the proportion of female students is only 18 per cent.

Over the past decade the economic situation in Azerbaijan has been consistently improving and new employment opportunities have been generated, In 2011, women made up to 49.2 percent of economically active population in Azerbaijan. However, women still face both vertical and horizontal segregation in many sectors of employment. Women are concentrated mainly in low-wage sectors, deemed suitable for the ‘female nature’ such as education, health and social services.

One of the areas in which gender differences place women at the greatest disadvantage in comparison to men is that of decision-making processes. While some positive trends are emerging, women are still underrepresented in elective offices and senior decision-making posts. For example, share of women in the Parliament of Azerbaijan has increased from 11% (2005) to 16% (2010).  

As regards executive branch of government, out of a total of 39 Ministers and Chairpersons of State Committees and Agencies, there is only one woman. At the level of Deputy Minister, only 6 percent are females.

The ratio of men and women in the civil service also presents a picture of vertical discrimination – the higher the position, the fewer the number of women. For example, if compared to men, the ratio of women in the position of Head of Division is as low as 1 to 14. In analyzing the dynamics of participation by gender over the past four years, it is apparent that there is a slight increase (2%) in the number of women at higher grades. 

Disparities observed in the level of men’s and women’s participation in economic, social and political life are, to a large extent, accounted for by patriarchal attitudes and the stereotypes regarding women roles and responsibilities in the family and society, which constitute a significant impediment to the implementation of the legislative provisions.

Women representation in the Parliament of Azerbaijan

Bar Chart
Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament