International Women’s Day: Women taking the lead on Kazakh farms

Kaz horses
Kaz horses

From the past to present, in many cultures women were perceived closer to nature, even considered sacred given their inherent connection to the continuity of the life cycle as a deliverer of life. Yet, the voices of women in biodiversity conservation can often be left unheard. That is why BIOFIN is working to make sure more women take leadership roles in protecting and restoring our nature.   

The BIOFIN Kazakhstan has taken positive steps to make this vision come to reality. The finance solutions selected in the country aim to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. This involves identifying gender roles in the use, management, and conservation of protected areas and hunting concessions.

Amongst six identified finance solutions in Kazakhstan, gender is a well-anchored priority, such as one finance solution related to breeding animals like pheasants for hunting.  

This BIOFIN Kazakhstan team is currently working on the development of a program for subsidizing game breeding to save threatened animal species and develop an improved system of hunting concessions. The revenues reinvested in conservation or distributed to communities can be a significant and sustainable source of finance, potentially worth nearly US$1 million per year.

The main principle of sustainable hunting management is to strive to balance the needs of the animal world with the needs of people, using scientific knowledge aimed at preserving wild animals and their habitats, preventing conflicts between humans and wildlife.

In addition, this approach provides for the management of game species for sustainable use, that is, on a long-term basis, without harming ecosystems -humans, and animals.

Currently there are over 700 registered hunting farms in Kazakhstan, employing almost 4000 workers including 114 women holding a range of positions as game managers, gamekeepers, and office managers.

A gender analysis carried out among 100 hunting farms that are members of the Republican Association of Public Associations of Hunters and Hunting Concessions "Kansonar" showed that only seven are led by women. 

This International Women’s Day, UNDP Kazakhstan produced a video promoting the role of women, engaging in the preservation of biodiversity and keeping records of wild animals as well as in the development of tourism and recreation facilities.

“My main aim is to protect and preserve the wealth of our land,” said  Aelita Akhmetsalimkyzy, Chair at Zaisanskoye Hunting Concession, East-Kazakhstan Region

“We have pheasants for game breeding and every year in the fall we let about 150 pairs go into the wild.  We do recreational hunting and recreational fishing and now organize two reservoirs for paid fishing. We have done stocking and the place is rich for fish now,” said Lyudmila Glushkova, Chair at Kokshetau Interdistrict Hunting & Fishing Society.

The women interviewed believe that they did not notice gender infringement during professional development, labor assessment, and salary determination. All women agree that the topic of gender in Kazakhstan is very relevant and the state policy pursued is aimed at tackling all forms of manifestations of gender discrimination, as well as creating conditions for unleashing the potential of women abilities in various fields.

Women have a critical role to play at every level in efforts to protect and restore nature.  BIOFIN is working in Kazakhstan and across the world to ensure that not only their voices are heard, but that gender gaps are closed.​​​​​​​