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Preface


There are splendid examples of women's public activity in Azerbaijan in the end of XIX - the beginning of XX centuries. The advanced women of that time established the context of new gender relations as rather realized deeds. The usual philanthropic actions that can be interpreted now as sponsoring also including the establishment of new women's schools, organizations and clubs, initiated the appearance of the other socially active women's groups.

 

The public women's activity in Azerbaijan was expressed by dissemination of enlightenment ideas and charity in the beginning of its development, but, of course, it also had its own characteristics that had been formed by cultural, religious and national traditions.

The Azerbaijan Information Gender Center jointly with the International Center of Civil Culture (Georgia) promote creating the history of civil society and those initiations by studying woman's public activity in the end of XIX - the beginning of XX centuries. The pilot works were carried out at the Negatives Fund of the National Museum of Azerbaijan History (the results are submitted at the site www.gender-az.org in the part "Virtual Museum") and Georgia historical archives in 2003 showed that there exist some very interesting documents connected with the women's public activity such as the statuses of women's organizations, groups, associations, mutual benefits, reports of their activities, photos. These documents were known in part in the soviet period. However, it was equivocally presented by undergoing both "the party" censorship and influence of prevailing tradition is to portray those women as unhappy and enslaved characters.

 

The researchers of women's movement history, experts on gender problems, scientists of sociology and political sciences have not come to the common opinion till now apropos of the attitude to the women's movement, especially, at its earliest stages, in states of the South Caucasian. Was it connected with feminism of the first wave in the slightest degree if only that was absolutely rocking social foundations of Western society? According to its nature a women's movement can not develop in the context of patriarchal traditions, in that case what served the first cause for its birth in the Azerbaijan society? Was it a result of idea and theories clash or, probably, its history was a chronicle of people' fates, strong and bright persons whose lives were full of dramatic characters? Were heroines of this book the bearers of feminism ideas, and what degree of their influence on the development of public relations did they have?

The book that you are holding in your hands "Traditions of Women's Activities in Azerbaijan (the end of XIX - the beginning of XX centuries)" has to answer these questions, or perhaps approach the truth. We are in the Azerbaijan Gender Information Center who prepared this collection of articles for publication, understood all difficulties of such mission very well. Only unprejudiced readers have a right to judge how well we managed to carry out our work because they really got an opportunity of investigating the unique documents, majority of them were published in neither special literature nor popular one. But we will return to the method of articles selection still.

 

The present forming women's movement attempts to turn to its origins that are contradictory enough. There appear in the historical retrospection heroic persons: empress Tomris, legendary women-rulers Nushabeh, Mahibanu, Mehridjan Hatun, Kerogli's wife Nigayr devoted to the struggle for independence, Fatali-khan's supporter in the struggle for establishing the unified Azerbaijani state Tutuh Bikeh. On a diplomatic field have proved Sara xatun, Despine xatun and Mekhin Sultanim khanum. These women were representatives of different social stratums. However, all of them were rated highly in the social consciousness. There shines the Pleiad of famous poetesses' names: Mehsety Gandjevi, Agah Begim, Hejran khanum, Gonchabeim, Hurshudbanu Natavan, Fatimah Kaminah. "The specifics of the gender relations in Azerbaijan lies in the fact that a woman was kept away from the production field; here, unlike in European countries, the rights and liberties of women were advocated and fought for by the national intelligentsia represented by men and educated in the spirit of the humanistic and democratic principles of the spiritual ethno-culture. This contributed to the fact that the gender contradictions and confrontation in Azerbaijan did not acquire the sharpness characteristic of the West and there emerged no necessary conditions to dictate the need for a feminist movement. The struggle, even if by only a part of men for the rights of women, appeared to remove the need for women to participate in this struggle and alleviated the bitterness of the confrontation".

 

But now we would explain both the principle of this selection and reasons that were very important for us when we were working with the documents carried on the pages of this collection.

It is necessary for our readers to understand that the beginning of women's movement in our state is divided into two stages with the utmost clarity. It is before and after establishing Soviet Power in Azerbaijan. The natural historical succession does not almost connect these stages.

The women from privileged classes were the first to appear at the proscenium of the struggle for woman's emancipation. They were persons of the world, the very concepts of feminism or struggle for equal suffrage were far from them, these ideas existed in the space that was even alien to them. Yes, S. Tagieva-Arablinskaya, L. Tuganova, I. Ashurbekova and many other women were famous with her charity and educational activity. But did they go into the theory of traditional, classic, liberal, humanist feminism that had appeared as a social movement in the West not long before our heroines' births? It is highly probable. As they say now, these women could have an information on this problem. These women of the world in Azerbaijan society were educated very well, often came to the foreign countries. But on the other hand, there are no written or oral evidences of Azerbaijan oil industrialists' wives and daughters' devotion to ideas of Western feminism. And what did they know of Russian feminists named "Ravnopravkas" and "Bestujevkas" and did they know anything about such feminists in general? Some Russian newspapers were writing about these woman's movements, and as is well known, ladies from the upper ten were zealous readers, however, the first Russian feminists on the whole came out of an urban lower middle class, and the ladies' high society of Azerbaijan socially identified itself as an aristocratic commonwealth.

 

And one can be absolutely certain that our heroines never heard anything about the proclamation of International Woman's Day in memory of American textile women-workers' strike. In spite of the fact that both the very strike and the conference in Copenhagen that introduced 8-th of March as the woman's holiday fell on the period of heyday of Azerbaijan charity in the first decade of the twentieth century. Whatever was a source of woman's philanthropy and educational activity in Azerbaijan, their main prerequisites?

We think, one can emphasize three such positions: it's a concrete historical period of capitalism development in Russian Empire and especially Azerbaijan as industrially advanced part of empire; ideas of Azerbaijan Enlightenment, and, although it sounds idealistic, it is these significant women's purity of hearts, the very moral sense that just as starlit heaven above a head carried away wise Kant.

Some words about official social imperatives of that age. During the reign of Alexander III the rapid growth of capitalism in Russia became a breeding-ground for cultivating of liberal values. Of course, the general election or liberty of the subject were out of the question then. But none the less, philanthropy was not only tolerated but also it was fully encouraged by czarism. Empress Maria Fedorovna herself was at the head of this movement, becoming a protectress of all the "public patronage" institution. There were almost 15000 philanthropic societies in the Russian Empire on the eve of the First World War, and most of them was ladies' ones. It was one of form of the practical embodiment of bourgeois theory known as "Wealth Percolation", from the ruling, extremely well-to-do classes to indigent social stratums. Of course, young Azerbaijan capitalism with its surroundings had to integrate into the system of new social relations, accept charity not only as a religious tradition but also as a social, public value. Probably the educated ladies, and it was adequate to the notion "very rich", women, were well acquainted with principles of Russian philanthropy. They were conveyed best of all in the Statutes of famous in Russia "Companionship Of "Voluntary" Kopeck", led by wife of well-known poet and writer F. Glinka, nee A. Golenisheva-Kutuzova, "Let's vow in front of our consciousness voluntarily to give one kopeck from every rouble that was spent for luxury goods and our toilet".

 

From European feminists positions, especially radicals, the oil barons' wives and daughters contribution to woman's movement had not political or social reasons and always remained within the framework of charity was usual for the beginning of XX century. But we have no thought to explain the rich and generous women's actions with only the fact that philanthropy was in vogue that time. Far from all representatives of their social class who were well-dressed according to last Paris magazines, had a passion for voluntary donations. But all the same let's agree with the fact that the Western feminists' war-cry, "The world does not need charity. The world needs justice!" was conceptually alien to ladies from Azerbaijan upper crust. Justice in their consciousness had been almost a synonym of philosophic or psychological state that was described by famous Mother Teresa in her Nobel speech as an "atonement by compassion".

Yes, these refined, clever, honest women who could never imagine what terrible payment would wait for them for short years of their lives in luxury and wealth, felt their fault for the people vegetating in ignorance, for the poor women of the same ages who were fearfully hiding under their chadrahes on the dusty streets of the old town, for the source of their own countless wealth was Baku oilfields named "the brilliant picture of the gloomy hell" by writer Gorky. Of course, ladies from well-off families did not "go to people" in the religious and sacrificial or revolutionary senses of these words. But it was no accident that just their educational activity became a main point of all their social efforts.

 

We would say today that their staring conditions from which they began the educational work were the worst in all the Southern Caucasus. Significant public figure of Azerbaijan Enlightenment Gasanbek Zardàbi wrote with mental anguish, "At the same time when they were opening educational establishments in Tiflis and neighboring cities, when there have appeared the beginning of correct culture, the Eastern Trans-Caucasus was forgotten... And the population of the Trans-Caucasus, mainly Muslims, was considered backward, far from civilization... Enormous masses of Persian nationals daily flooded the Trans-Caucasus could not bring anything except poverty and ignorance that shrouded the Trans-Caucasus more and more, killing those reflected rays of European civilization which had penetrated here by mistake as if..."[1] I'm sure that Tagieva, Ashurbekova and a lot of other women from their surroundings pointedly felt a tragic state of the society of their time. So they concentrated their efforts on educational activity, in the first place trying to give Azerbaijan girls an opportunity of getting knowledge. Such a sensitive and rational approach at the same time was first of all a result of direct influence of Azerbaijan Enlightenment ideas and it's the brilliant representatives: Akhundov, Zardàbi, Minasasov, Sabir, Mamedkul-zade, Khadi and a lot of other thinkers.

 

 

Enlightenment in Azerbaijan had "male origin", and it is difficult not to agree with the Z. Kuli-zade's sharp thought, "It is worthy of note that if capitalism development in the West was conducive to women organizing for their rights, then the mission of women protection including Azerbaijan fell to men's lot, in particular, intelligentsia of the end of XIX - the beginning of XX centuries"[2].

The influence of men, public figures of Enlightenment on the ladies from the high society was significant. Suffice it to that almost all of them were acquainted with each other in person. Known to you Gasanbek Zardàbi was one of inspirers of establishing educational society "Nidjat"("Rescuing"), was standing at sources of national theatre grew up out of bustle of amateur performances. Splendid journalist Mamedkuli-zade's name was connected with bringing out the issue of the first woman's magazine "Ishig" ("The Light"), and one can give a lot of such examples.

 

In contradistinction to European Enlightenment, Azerbaijan one was and more romantic, and more revolutionary, its anti-clerical purposefulness was expressed much more brightly than it had taken place in philosophy of XVII-XVIII centuries. E. Ahmedov, significant researcher of this period, remarked very rightly, "one of philosophy Azerbaijan Enlightenment characteristic is that its coming-to-be at the same time coincided with the process of forming national people's self-consciousness"[3].

Recognition of natural rights for women became on of main direction of Azerbaijan Enlightenment. Here is a highly significant pronouncement of big Azerbaijan publicist G. Minasasov expressed by him in the letter to Ahmadbek Agaev, editor-in-chief of newspaper "Irshad", "Until woman's problem won't be settled, until Muslim woman will be in the state of slave, until a word "arvad" (a woman) will be the most insulting one for Muslims, until our mothers and wives are remaining in the atmosphere of impenetrable darkness, hopeless ignorance and mental poverty, all our big words about Muslims who have begun to join in common to all mankind culture, support progress, civilization with all her attributes like freedom of speech, person, will and so on, all these phrases will smack of insincerity and gross bragging"[4].

 

Can we consider that the democratic pathos of Azerbaijan Enlightenment was too radical for the women from such social surroundings as created "Baku oil wonder"? Yes, to some degree. The ladies from upper ten invested a lot of strengths and means in charity, board of guardians, education of young Azerbaijan women and girls first of all, but if they did not in "towers of ivory", they kept at a distant from the struggle for democratic freedoms and especially anti-clerical ideology, consciously not "joining battle". However, there were ladies from Muslim philanthropic societies, trustees of woman's schools and orphan-asylums, who created good deeds in the course of Azerbaijan Enlightenment, stood at the cradle Azerbaijan women's movement.

The pre-Revolutionary period of the woman's movement that just was gathering its strength in Azerbaijan is characterized with not only the aristocratic wing but also the democratic one.

Of course, the women represented it were not of lower classes. However, it was them who shared anger of public figures' brilliant philippics directed against religious conformists, attentively kept up with the polemic about wearing chadrahes that developed on the pages of magazine "Mollah Nasreddin". The women from the elite and their more democratic followers were not almost divided by time. But if aristocrats considered that a struggle for women's rights was a certain abstract, almost exotic category, ideas of educational feminism for their successors were an ideological conception, their own position of Weltanschauung.

Baku oil capitals initiated woman's sponsorship of education and charity, but women from democratic wing G. Melikova-Zardabi, A. Efendieva, H. Alibekova, H. Vezirova and the other already themselves were in the center of education process, headed it, established and taught at schools for Azerbaijani girls. In the "time of troubles" of social shocks the country learnt names of H. Djavanshir, G. Kazieva, A. Akhund-zade and other young vigorous women distinguished themselves with talents of organizers and propagandists. Let's recall very popular actions of help for starving persons of Zanguezur and Volga banks that were brilliantly held by these women. At the same well-educated Kh. Azizbekova, Sh. Efendieva, M. Bayiramalibekova, R. Azim-zade already themselves embarked on a new political career, they established and worked different womån's organizations whose social objects exceeded the bounds of sponsorship and philanthropy. The synthesis of woman's education and emancipation became a strategy of ideological program of Enlightenment. It is symbolical that "a woman in the black chadrah holding her child by his hand and pointing at the rising sun was portrayed on the cover of first woman's magazine "Ishig"("Ishig") (Baku 1911)"[5].

 

Hadidja Alibekova became an editor-in-chief of this magazine, and this fact was apprehended by the educational society as a shocking sensation, and as an open challenge, nearly public slap in the face, it was taken by clerical and conservative official quarters. This magazine "Ishig" existed not long ( two years), but its authors were not only equal to ideas of Azerbaijan thinkers, but also transformed them on the plane of struggling for female suffrage (Halima Akhundova), establishing woman's unions (Minaver Alihanova), woman's patriotic organizations (Hayatkhanum Chajgirahli). "Ishig" was certainly directed towards democratic values, but woman's emotions, as we say now, authors' "passionarism", imparted it outstandingly expressed revolutionary grasp. Our readers will get know that authors of the magazine applied to their readers with words, "Sisters of mine...", in this way creating a special atmosphere of inner closeness, confidence, agreement of opinions. And it, in its turn, became a condition of large press of this magazine. The Muslim-women from different areas of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Russia sent not only their letters but also the correspondences, articles, even poems.

We would like to attract readers' attention to women's fates who were going down to history in the beginning of XX century. All of them had integrated in the Soviet society though some of them got under the roller of Stalin's cruel repression, but they became true heroines of Azerbaijan contemporary history, its national wealth. It is Hamida Djavanshir-Mamedkuli-zade, public figure; Nazira Shah-Mirzah, physician and musician; the Mamedovs Aziza and Sona, actresses; Firuza Kerimova, oil-engineer; Mariamkhanum Bayiramalibekova, figure of trade-unions and a lot of other women about whose lives a reader will get know from this book.

Authors of this historical collection of articles and documents chose for this goal a very popular in the West form of documentary research known as "oral history". In point of fact, it is small stories written from words of their daughters, granddaughters and even great-granddaughters of our heroines made cultural, scientific and industrial glory of Azerbaijan. The short memories will attract attention both their ingenuousness and new facts from lives of well-known Azerbaijan women. We think that will become the significant fact that the very tellers themselves grew up to famous scientists, pedagogues, musicians, people occupied active moral positions, true patriots of their Motherland.

 

Perhaps, the part dedicated the firs years of Soviet period will cause the most heated arguments. It seemed that this historical stage must be regarded as a hitch in the Eastern woman's movement that allowed a woman became a true member of society. Such a position was considered as indisputable for a lot of years. But now the other point of view is victorious among some modern researches of gender problems. According to their opinions, the Soviet period is characterized with a heyday of so-called "forced feminism" that is only an euphemism of concept "violent euphemism". A priory they also affirm that the woman's question settlement was used by communist propaganda as "an evidence of socialism progressiveness". However, there is no caution against creating for themselves already an "anti-idol" from their own historical past in the Ten Commandments. Consequently, this point of view reflects somebody's certain philosophical position too. But one should remember that the establishment of gender equality was always immanent part of Marxist, communist and social-democratic ideology. Gender equality of rights is not sporting achievements that were being used for demonstrating socialism advantages at that time. Women's emancipation was the same publicly significant object that was, for example, nationalization of industry. And it was attained, certainly, by revolutionary methods were typical for ideology of socialism.

 

But all the same, a lot of researches ask themselves the question is unless the appearance of April affairs in 1920, could political, cultural, social values laid in the context of public and social system of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic be a breeding-ground for the heyday of feminism national model, could they lastly bring to the triumph of philosophical ideas among which gender equality was considered as one of the most important position? One can give a reply in the form of unconditional "yes" in that case, provided we are going to regard this problems out of temporal frameworks. Doubtlessly, problems of gender equality will be settled by the world community in far beautiful future somewhere unless its own way of development is interrupted by a natural or artificial cataclysm.

None the less, the very formulation of a question gives the ground for serious thought though the affirmation that history has not the subjunctive mood, has already become an usual phrase, and a free interpretation of even not real facts but hypothetical suppositions, has not so much scientific value as serves as an instrument for reaching the narrow party, often juncture goals.

However, let's try to analyze evidences system of supporters of women's emancipation theory according to the Western European model in the context of social structures development in ADR. Of course, we mean the evolutionary way of development, expanding feministic ideas into system of democratic and liberal norms legislatively passed.

First of all, one must specify that nobody is going to cast doubt upon the ADR leaders sincere striving for establishing gender equality not only in the interpretation of their time but even out striping it because all of them were educated on the patterns of Azerbaijan and European Enlightenment. As is well known in 1907 already H. Hasmamedov, leader of the Muslim fraction in the State Duma in Russia, moved a bill about conceding suffrage for country's women, and Muslim fraction with certain reservations supported this legislative initiative. So, in 1917 Shafiga Efendieva was included among delegates of the First Congress of Caucasian Muslims which passed in Baku. She was a talented pedagogue, brilliant orator who herself gave the word to tell the audience about Muslim-women's difficult problems. However, her emotional appeals remained the voice of one crying in the wilderness. The Congress regarded her words not only with indifference but also made a show of extremely hostility with respect to her. This fact is a showing of attitude to women's political participant at that time. It is not an independent fact, but it is a drop in which we sea all the ocean.

Yes, Azerbaijan was the first in the East that spoke for conceding suffrage for women leaving behind even some European countries in the settlement of gender contradictions for years.

Yes, women received the right was to elect and to be elected during the preparing for the election in the ADR Constituent Assembly. And it was a big achievement of all women's movement in the world history.

Did Azerbaijan democrats manage to break the millennial paradigm of women's non-freedom, transfer good intentions into the practical plane, bring all the society but not only its elite near understanding of person's natural rights about which Enlightenment public figures of all peoples and times liked to say so much? Unfortunately, it seemed to be impossible. In the presented book a reader will find the documents that testify to the fact that ADR government to some degree encouraged womån's movement and involved women in the political practice.

According to some researchers, the Soviet regime broke off the natural development course of Azerbaijan society as a whole and its woman's movement in particular, did not give it an opportunity of integrating into the system of "triumphant" Western feminism. Now this affirmation became a part of new historical paradigm? And it is taken as almost like Cartesian "innate idea" that does not demand proofs and corroboration. But if it were not for almost Hamlet's causation of times was interrupted, and Azerbaijan would have burst from deep feudalism into the capitalistic world with energy of an impetuous oil gusher and began to develop like, for example, quiet and tolerant Holland, could our compatriots see the triumph of true feminism? It remained only to sigh. We could not develop like Faust's homunculi in the scientist's retort, we could pass by the world wars, colonial expansions, revolutions and all other shocking events of cruel XX century. We could not turn into absolutely a certain free pro-Western society because J.R. Kipling, "troubadour of colonialism " was right considering that the West was the West, and the East was the East, and they would never meet one another. Any patriarchal system including certainly society with Islamic tradition could not develop into the state of woman's emancipation resolved problem. Although some leaders such countries (recall Iranian Shah who was giving orders to take chadrahes off by force) attempted to establish a certain "directive feminism", as a whole a society could not rise above patriarchal or religious traditions.

 

It touches on such countries too in which it would seem, contrary to their development logic, the women headed the governments and political movements. We mean Indira and Sona Gandhi in India, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Siramavo Bandanaraike and Chandrika Kumaratunga in Sri-Lanka, Aun San Su Chji in Mainma and the others. The daughters and widows of the late leaders of these states who had got brilliant European education, extremely carefully approached women's problems because they understood that female suffrage could not be in the slightest degree a triumph of true equality of rights among women and men, that the inertia strength of patriarchal and religious society would exceed any striving for settling of woman's question for too long.

Did the starting ground for political, social and cultural reforms in ADR really differ in the best side from conditions of other oriental states that became independent later that Azerbaijan did? Certainly not! Rapid growth of capitalistic relations in the capital was considered as an extraordinary territory by many Western researches including Richard Pipes, significant scientist and political figure, could be a guarantee of bourgeoisie cultural progress only, but not the nation as a whole. And what is more, if we talk about even the richest oriental monarchies, we will have to admit that oil dollars and feminism that is a part of the world culture, are concepts having no interrelationship at all.

On what indeed social and cultural levels were Azerbaijan women when national democrats took the helm? Remind that according to the census of 1897 only 4,6% of indigenous population could be considered literate, it only remained to guess what tenth or hundredth percentages constituted a number of literate women. Let's take the most trustworthy source is evidences of the same philosophers, as is well known, turned problems of traditional style of life and women's social status into the head nerve of their fighting articles and serious sociological researches. So, F. Kocharli, continuing critical M. Akhundov and Zardàbi traditions polemical impressively explained an absence of initiatives, inertness of the society of his time by the fact that educational functions within its frameworks belonged to "silent, dumb, unhappy and pitiable mothers always living in fear"[6]. By the way, some very respectable Western scientists of politology are making use of a factor of backwardness, Muslim women's spiritual isolation as a main argument in the system of "misanthropic essence" of so-called Islamic fundamentalism. However, such arguments are none other than "reduction ad absurdum", in other words, argument is so much immoral and dangerous that it refutes itself.

 

Was there a place for protest anyhow in the environment of even young women from (emphasize it) the deepest people's masses? Let's remained outside the frameworks of our researches the rather typical for the East examples of absolutely young women's voluntary comings out of their lives because of they had conflicted their husbands, spouse's folks, or even their own parents. Doubtlessly, it is an extreme form of passive protest. Let's not accentuate some almost legendary instances of active resistance among of them the most brilliant example was set by Nigayr khanum, true friend of insurgent Koroglu, Hadjar khanum, favorite of Azerbaijan Robin Good, gàchag (robber) Nabi. Much more often the very form of woman's protest took the astonishing, unordinary traits.

In this book a reader will find the most interesting essay "The Woman's Al-Koran" published more eighty years ago. It is a story about a book named "Adobu-Nisa". It appeared from Persia and according to the legend it was composed by order of Fet-Ali-han who had a reputation of a woman's love significant "expert". All the content of book is in point of fact, a history of a harem woman struggle with man's violence. However, the methods of this struggle are sometimes really insidious in the woman's style, at times they cause a smile. The women-preachers out of the people: Kulem-Nene, Khuli-Djan-Aga, Babi-Shah-Zeinabe and the other were bringing them to oriental women developing the spirit of resistance and hatred for lack of rights in their hearts.

Thus, there ripped the rather intelligent spirit of protest in the thick of people that was brought by different public powers and doomed a social outburst of expected political actions. And they on the strength of historical collisions had to assume a grave, revolutionary character.

 

In the part dedicated to early the first Soviet period of woman's movement we presented the documents, articles, and memories of those years. You won't be able to find the comments or articles of authors' collection. There are only the facts that according to the classic's thought, are "the most stubborn thing in the world". We avoid giving those events an authors' appreciation and occasion to charging with a mythologization of historical past. We would not also somebody look for an unordinary "casus belly" of different political convictions. Moreover, we are sure that absolutely well-defined an author "position of non-interference" it the work pretended to be a basis for carrying out the serious historical researches including gender ones. It will allow to avoid the legitimization of historical mythology that can be scarcely admissible in a polemical fervor.

So, only the documents of that fat time appear before a reader. However, you won't find a mention about the coercive women's attraction to woman's clubs, or especially as taking off chadrahes by force. Overall, the modern history knows much more facts of coercion into wearing a chadrah than its prohibition. This was in Taliban's Afghanistan or Homeini's Iran. The sequence of "socialistic feminism" actions for an young Azerbaijan woman is carried out on the line: woman's club-course of illiteracy liquidation-taking a profession and only after, she took her chadrah off. Different prospects were being opened before every girl at that time, they were much more alluring than a solitary life in her husband's apartment, her an original "lambs silence". And continuing this analogy we have to remark that girls were not coming to woman's clubs like sacrificial animals going to the slaughter. No, it was an intelligent and steadfast step. You will learn from the documents that in Azerbaijan there took place not simply a "process of emancipation" but the true struggle for woman's freedom, and it also had both its heroines and its victims whose names you will get know from this book.

 

 

A way of woman's emancipation both in the East and in the West, at any stage, always lay through a revolution such another as French or American ones... And even the modern Western feminism with its expansive striving for breaking up rather inoffensive traditions of usual etiquette finally got the parameters of social stability just after May events of 1968. It was a revolution of "new lefts" whose radical convictions plunged aged members of Politburo into despair. And before significant "affirmative actions" are a system of preferences for social groups formerly discriminated became possible, at first there had been barricades in the Latin Quarter in Paris, shooting up of students demonstration in Kent, protest marches of many millions in Rome.

Today a lot of researches of woman's movement in Azerbaijan are fighting for studying this public phenomena not only through historical documents, significant scientific works, but also contemporaries' personal evidences, memories, articles, analyze of literature works whose authorship belonged to the women. Such a method is successfully and long practiced in the West. Authors of this historical collection completely sharing such a position took it as the methodical basis of their work "Traditions of Women's Activities in Azerbaijan (the end of XIX - the beginning of XX centuries)" and hope that it won't remained unnoticed both experts and interested readers.

The Azerbaijan Gender Information Center plans to extend a sphere of public discussion on woman's problems and gender equality of rights by popularizing the information collected by two Azerbaijan and Georgia organizations for their research. It seems, the collection "Traditions of Women's Activities in Azerbaijan" will be of interest not only for the experts of feminist movements and gender development history, but also for the general reading public. The authors of the collection "Traditions of Women's Activities in Azerbaijan " purposed not only to work up the scientific subjects of historiography. The presented publication is issued under support of Women's Network Program of Institute "Open Society" appears rather actual for the modern public model too, that is characterized by extreme exfoliating of society into the rich and poor, increasing of the conflict processes of fundamentalist's ideas restoration and secularizing of public relations.

 

This book would not be able to emerge in the world without the experts helping who did their best to keep the historical people's memory. Thank to their efforts there wrote a lot of dissertations and published the books, but the very experts often kept in the background. It is no secret that documents keeping in our museums is far from perfect condition for the present, and the enthusiasts for their work who are Lala khanum Bayramova, Director of the Museum of National Education, Aliya khanum Abbasova, Head Custodian of the Museum of National Education, Maarif Teymurov, Director of the State Archives of Literature and Art, Zarifa khanum Dulaeva, Head of Department of Newest History of National Museum of History of Azerbaijan not only let the documents but also they shared their knowledge telling the facts how the political events of that period affected our heroines' fates. That's why we tried to include their living stories in the space of the historical documents.

We express our great gratitude for an opportunity of using the papers from family and personal archives to Mine Davatdarova, Hurshid Abdullaeva, Naida Mamedova, Tamilla Kengerlinskaya, Beyukhanum Nazirova, Kevsar Tariverdieva, Rabia Sultan-zade, Elmira Faradjullaeva. They absolutely supported our idea of telling the women's history by the language of the documents, photos, oral reminiscences. Especially as the information about women is less acceptable than about men's.

The special gratitude belongs to Natella Akhundova and Tofik Bagirov, our translators, Farhad Zohrabekov, designer and editor-in-chief of the Virtual Museum in the site www.gender-az.org of Azerbaijani and Georgian publications.

There is working out the problem, "Who Are We? From Where Did We Come? Where Do We Come?" in the practice of training on the development of women's leadership in the groups of "Persons' Awaking". It is possible that the part of this publication documents will help to find their answers.

 

Yelena Gasumova

the chief of Azerbaijan

Gender Information Center

E-mail: info@gender-az.org

 

 


 

[1] Gasanbek Zardabi. Selected Articles and Letters. B., 1962, p. 349.

[2] Kuli-zade Z. Gender in Azerbaijan. Baku. 2003, p. 259.

[3] E. M. Ahmedov. Philosophy of Azerbaijan Enlightenment. B., Azernesher, 1983, p. 286.

[4] It is quoted on Guseynova D.S. Azerbaijan intelligence at the end of XIX - the beginning of XX centuries. The Doctor's Thesis. Authoref. Baku. 1993, p.19.

[5] S. Mamedov. Role of Azerbaijan Women in the Struggle for Development of Education and Culture in Azerbaijan (the end of XIX - the beginning of XX centuries). The Candidat's Thesis. Authoref. Baku. 1967, p. 12.

[6] It is quoted on. Talibova S.G. Cultural educational and charities of the Azerbaijan bourgeoisie (the end of ÕIÕ - the beginning of XX centuries). The Candidate's Thesis. Authoref. Baku. 1994, p.17.

VIRTUAL MUSEIM

AGIC promotes creating the history of civil society and those initiations by studying womanవblic activity in the end of XIX - the beginning of XX centuries. The collection of the visual evidences and oral reminiscences allows not only to recalled the events, become utterly absorbed in the atmosphere that reigned at that time but also to comprehend, understand how and what efforts were demanded for establishing of Caucasus women಩ghts. The information collected here will serve also as a supporting material for teachers, historians and researchers working in the sphere of woman࡮d gender problems. They will get an opportunity of using these unique documents as historical references, visual and oral evidences.




EUROPEAN WOMENԈESAURUS

The European WomenԨesaurus is the tool for definition and search of the "female" information in databanks, the Internet and the collection of women଩braries, the documentary centers and archives. The European WomenԨesaurus contains 2087 European terms.

In the Azerbaijan version of the Thesaurus are brought 589 terms reflecting sociopolitical realities of the Azerbaijan society, national and Islamic culture.




GENDER DIRECTORY

is the data-base of all the national actors involved in women's and gender issues work. The data base supposes to include the gender focal points:㴡te agencies, National parliament, Business sector, Mass media outlets, 鮴ernational organizations, functioning in Azerbaijan, Funding institutions, functioning in Azerbaijan,鰬omatic corps, functioning in Azerbaijan, the individual actors (individual feminists, writers and poets, artists, scientific women಩ghts lawyers). Attention! The directory is connected by links to databases of women·Os (both registered and non-registered), NGOs carrying out gender projects, researchers and teachers.




AZERBAIJAN STATE COMMITTEE ON FAMILY, WOMAN AND CHILD PROBLEMS

In Azerbaijan by initiative of the President Ilham Aliev in accordance with Presidential Decree dated by 6 of February 2006 State Committee on Family, Women and Children issues has been established. Chairwoman of the Committee is Mrs. Khidjran Guseynova. She is the professor of the Baku State University and the first woman- the doctor of political sciences in Azerbaijan




THE NATIONAL DOCUMENTS

The section presents the international documents on achievement of equality between men and women and protection of human rights for women.




THE INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTS

The section presents the international documents on achievement of equality between men and women and protection of human rights for women.




DATABASE OF WOMEN'S NGO

The database base of women·Os includes the registered and unregistered organizations, womenঠgroups. Attention! There arenలactically precisely profile NGOs in Azerbaijan. For completeness of the information search is recommended to realize by several key words




DATABASE OF NGOS, CARRYING OUT GENDER PROJECTS

The database represents the information about the international and national projects on gender problems for the period 1998-2007. Search is carried out both by thematic key words and under names of NGOs






Human Rights in the XXI Century - Azerbaijan














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Regional Initiative of Women's Groups for Promoting ICT as a Strategic Tool for Social Transformation









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