Yes to Some, But No to Others? Why "Women's March" Faced Rejection, But Rally Was Allowed?

cover Orda

The Almaty Akimat and supporters of the Women's March commented on the situation around pre-holiday rallies for

Serious emotions have flared up around March 8 in recent months. Dozens of young women took to the squares and streets and held lone protests, demanding permission to hold a three-hour "Women's March" for the rights and safety of women. 

They received more than 20 rejections from the city akimat. However, Bibinur Sheralieva received permission the first time. Public resources indicate that she is the founder of the Rahim social house. The rally will be held on a weekday on March 7 in Gandhi Park. It will be dubbed "For a Decent Life for Women!". contacted representatives of the Women's March organizing committee and those who held lone protests. We asked why there was no approval. We addressed the same question to the Almaty Akimat. We received only an answer about the permitted rally, however. 

As it turned out, the application for the rally "For a Decent Life for Women!" was received in the akimat on February 19. On February 21, the rally was sanctioned. 

This notification (requests sent to notify - Ed.) complies with the requirements of the law "On the procedure for organizing and holding peaceful Assemblies in the Republic of Kazakhstan." In accordance with the law, by the decree of the Akimat of Almaty dated February 21, 2024, No. 1/101, it was permitted to hold a rally on March 7, 2024 from 12:00 to 14:00 in the Mahatma Gandhi Park,the city's public development department said in a response.  

We were unable to reach Bibinur Sheralieva for comment. Traditional values and employment of women of pre-retirement age will be discussed at her rally. 

Meanwhile, Gulzada Serjeant, the co-founder of the Feminita movement, commented on this situation for us.  

As I understand it, the woman who received permission for the March 7 rally is a representative of the AMANAT party. The authorities understand that the women's movement has come into being. Young women are joining it to protect their rights. The authorities dislike it, or rather, the men who hold authoritarian power. They want to appropriate the agenda of the feminist movement. So, they slip in such leaders like this woman, who appeared out of nowhere.

Aisulu Toyshybek, the host of the "Tits Talking" podcast, also holds this view. She held a lone protest in support of the "Women's March" in Almaty.

Unfortunately, we are now witnessing a fairly common scenario of political strategists, when the state tries to appropriate the agenda of the women's movement and hand it over to politically convenient, regime-approved persons. In my opinion, the state has seen the women's grassroots movement as a threat to itself and is now trying with all its might to take public spaces away from us, as the movement is politicized. The March 8 Committee and their supporters are asking uncomfortable questions and demanding decisive political reforms.

Aisulu regrets that Sheralieva and other public figures have not aligned themselves with feminists and human rights activists and have thereby hindered all women in Kazakhstan. 

It is important to understand that the March 8 Committee is not fighting for the mythical Western values that so frighten our society on the Internet. The stated agenda of this year's March and rally is the freedom and safety of women in Kazakhstan. Aren't freedom and security valued in Kazakhstan? I urge readers to support the women's movement, which is independent and not affiliated with the AMANAT party, the young woman said. 

Moldir Alban, co-founder of the SVET Foundation against Violence against Women, is confident that the authorities are dividing women by giving permission to some and banning others. She said that notifications sent by independent organizations and activists of the Women's March have been invariably refused. 

At first, we were told that they had cultural events for these dates in these places, some repair work was allegedly being carried out. Then we received responses to all subsequent notifications about the threat to public safety.

Moldir was also on the organizing committee of The Women's March in 2021. It was the only one to be approved by the city authorities. There were no incidents at that time, thus giving reason to activists' confusion over why their intentions have brought about such a reaction from pro-government structures. 

The situation is reminiscent of something that occurred in November. Independent activists and movements tried to organize a rally against domestic violence in the country. They also faced rejection, whereas the Jana Adamdar movement emerged, receiving official permission to hold the rally with the participation of Saltanat Nukenova's brother, Aitbek Amangeldy.

At the same time, the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the Constitution of Kazakhstan, though it is seemingly ignored.

Director Rinat Balgabaev shared his impression of this turn of events on social networks. 

The most hypocritical holiday of our country is approaching. The worse the situation for women in society gets, the more vocally it is celebrated, while Dysons in a one-week tulip bacchanalia are offered as an offset for the absence of rights throughout the year.

Original Autor: Maksim Skopin

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original piece in Russian for accuracy.

Latest news

view all