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Women and Pastures in the Kyrgyz Republic on a Case Study of Chong Alai Valley

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Undeland, Asyl
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1382
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Former Soviet Union
Subject(s): pastoralism
Abstract: "Women play a big role in livestock economy in the Kyrgyz Republic. Their role in Chong Alay valley is especially significant since they are in charge of grazing animals in pastures from early spring till late fall. At the same time, traditionally rights of Kyrgyz women to pastures are secured through their male relatives- fathers, brothers and/or husbands. Customary regimes place the man at the head of the household and thus property rights, including animals and pasture land use rights, are attributed to him. Nonetheless, customary use regimes are viewed positively when compared to the formal system. Women enjoy access to pasture land insofar as they belong to the associated clan, which is headed by men. "Public decision-making tends also to be dominated by men and their interests. Development programs for pasture management and improvement need to bear in mind the challenges posed by (i) differences between formal and customary regimes, with the de facto prevalence of the latter, (ii) view of ownership and use rights as being issues for men, and (iii) the problems of having bona fide women representation in public decision-making. This is a particular challenge insofar as external development initiatives must necessarily go through and/or establish formal mechanisms. At a minimum, they need to mandate women's participation in decision-making entities for natural resources management and planning of improvements, as well as informal adjudication in the event of conflict."

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