“She Speaks. She Votes. She Leads. We Are All Heard.” celebrates women’s leadership through stories told by inspiring women. Perizat from Kyrgyzstan shares her story about a time she took the lead.

I was not an activist at school. I had to leave school from 9th grade to enter a professional lyceum (vocational training), as my mother wanted it. Having finished 3 years of study (at the vocational school), there was no sense of joy and I was not in demand.

There was chaos in the country and unemployment was developing. My family of workers with five children and had no wages given for months and we were in search of solutions to a number of problems.

Being still very young, I decided to start the chocolate business and opened a store. My search for myself continued for a long time. My business failed and I decided that I need to continue my studies. Despite the fact that my salary was very small, I got a job at the institute, where I immediately went to study for the purpose of obtaining higher education. Eagerness to study and even greater impact at work helped me quickly to make a career in the institute, where a year later I headed the department of the office.

The mentoring attitude of the head of the institute allowed me to get answers to a number of questions regarding the overall processes in the country, and I began to engage in public activities. A year later in 2001, I found like-minded people and established the public fund “Kanykei Ene” to help solve social and economic problems in the Batken region and, most importantly, to protect women’s rights.

The first goal was to strengthen the team’s capacity. Seminars and trainings on issues of social development, project development, volunteer development, micro-business basics, the basics of coaching skills and other topics helped to form a strong savvy team that began working with projects on migration, cross-border trade, women’s rights to land and opening their own Business.

The outdated system of government, the lack of support for public initiatives, stereotypes, and, most importantly, the mental attitude toward women’s activity, has opened up in me the desire to realize a revolution in the minds of men and society. In 2004, I decided to run for deputies of Kyzyl-Kyi city council, where I was the only woman candidate.

I received 467 votes, only 5 votes less than a man who became a deputy. But most importantly I received the votes more than many male candidates – heads of the university, hospital and other institutions of the city. I, was grateful to my voters and understood that people’s minds can be changed, because despite the centuries-old stereotypes and foundations, 467 voters in a small provincial town expressed their hope and belief in a tiny woman with strong spirit.

In 2011, the residents of the region elected me the chairman of the people’s Kurultay in oblast and today, being the first woman chairman, I represent their interests in the Council of the National Kurultay of the country. The events of 2004 marked the beginning of my political career. In 2007 I became a member of the political party “Zamandash”, in 2012 I was elected a member of the political council of the party and in 2014 I headed the women’s committee of the party.

Up ArrowTop