Uralsk, Kazakhstan

The social association "Society for women's initiatives support of Western Kazakhstan oblast"
was registered by the Justice Administration of Western Kazakhstan oblast in February 6, 1995.
Its registration number is 045.

Address: Flat 6, 5 Fourth Microdistrict, Uralsk, 417003, Kazakhstan.
Contact person: Elena Utesheva, Executive Director;
telephone: 007 (31122) 7-22-14 (home), 4-74-83.

Elena Utesheva

Uralsk-city is an administrative centre of the Republic of Kazakhstan western region's oblasts. It has a rich history. It was founded in 1613 as a fortress on Yaik river's coast which protected Russia's southern border, Yaik Cossacks who founded the town were featured as freedom-loving and original domestic matters. After a famous up-rising headed by Pugachov, Katherine II issued a decree renaming Yaik-river into Ural, the town became Uralsk.

At present its population consists of more than 80 nationalities, the most numerous are: Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars.

The basic part of the town industrial out put was the production of 3 big factories which worked for the defence branch. Now there are no state orders, there for during period of changes the factories reduced sharply their volume of out put and this caused the rate of unemployment in Uralsk to rise. Oblast's underearth is riched with oil and gas. An 1979 Karachaganak oil, gas-condensate field was discovered which is one of the biggest in the world, its operation will determine further oblast socio-economic development. At present it is very complicated and is featured with the following negative facets: economic recession, unemployment growth, worsening of population's living standard.

For women, who constitute 53% of total urban population these facets effected them greatly. Low payment in branches, where women are occupied - education health care, the absence of training systems, the impossibility of professional growth and promotion, family and office overwork; a primitive family life and the revival of stereotypes about "natural designation" of a woman brought a sharp worsening of women's position in society. The social association "Society for female initiatives support" is a non-profit, nongovernmental, voluntary association of women and is referred to local organizations, it functions in West-Kazakhstan oblast, in Uralsk. Society. We were registered in 6 February 1995 due to a legislative act concerning social movements; before registration the group existed since 1990 and was comprised of women who worked at Uralsk geophysical expedition, which contributed to discovery of Karachaganak oil, gas-condensate field.

The group was formed with the goal to break stereotypes on woman's position "from below", to increase their level of self - conscience and being informed, to show the true position of women in the town and in the region to attract local administration's attention to women's problems. The desire to unite to discuss and solve women's problems, to create for them-selves and for others prospects of constructive activity, to set up relations with Russia's independent women's movement and other Kazakhstan organizations led to the necessity of founding a women's association. In 1995 with in preparation for the 4-th World Conference on women's situation, owing to grant which was allocated by "Eurasia" Fund, a sociological poll "Woman's position at Uralsk labour market" was held. A seminar on its results took place, there were representatives of Russia's independent women's movement, of other women's societies of oblast and town as participants, the priorities of further work were identified. Among them: co-operation with administrative bodies with the purpose of implementing a softer approach for solving any goals of social policy, urban ecological problems, work with adolescents. Our association plans to issue a tabloid on pages of which we will cover news of all worked women's movement - starting from the sharpest disputes at international conferences and workshops up to possibility of training and financing women's projects. We intend to tell about women. who found their life path, made their choice. Very interesting are experience and fate of a woman - as a policy-maker, leader entrepreneur, as a mother, who teaches children history and culture of the country. To have an active position and actualise one's own possibilities a woman is able in the family and beyond its limits. The world of a woman is very rich and diverse. Today it has more problems which as experience shows, will be never solved if a woman keeps silent about them.

Elena Utesheva