In the agricultural sector in Uzbekistan, Government policy aimed at the improvement of women’s status and increasing women’s involvement in economic, political and social life is in conflict with the constraints of a patriarchal society. This paper presents the results of a gender analysis of the situation, based on the findings from focus group discussions with women-farmers from six regions of five districts of Uzbekistan. It highlights important and previously shadowy gender aspects of rural development and concludes that the potential of rural women’s economic status and involvement has not yet been reached. The data demonstrate that the processes of reform in rural areas have encountered difficulties and that rural women’s employment and education are still under the influence of gender stereotypes related to the women’s role in a patriarchal society. The specific features of rural women’s employment (low level of employment and economic activity, high unemployment, occupation of low paid positions) are in many respects related to women’s lack of professional education. Based on these findings, the paper makes some recommendations on how to increase the participation of women in rural development.
Key words: women farmers, gender stereotypes, Uzbekistan.
JEL classification: J710.