Tanzila Kamalovna NARBAYEVA, Chairperson of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, told us about the work in this direction, which is highly appreciated in the international arena.
– Tanzila Kamalovna, today we recognize that the textile industry has become the driver of the economy of Uzbekistan and generates employment of women more than all industries. In this regard, our readers are interested in what issues of gender equality and social stability that affect the interests of textile workers are currently being dealt with by the Senate?
– Actually, at the present stage, consistent and democratic reforms are being carried out in New Uzbekistan in all spheres of life, effective measures are being taken to ensure human rights, increase the role of parliament, civil society institutions and the media, the political activity of the population, and also create all the necessary conditions for so that everyone lives in peace and prosperity.
Today, the multinational people of Uzbekistan live with the great goal of achieving a standard of living corresponding to developed countries, building a just, free and stable society. For this purpose, as well as determining the strategic prospects for the development of the state and society, under the leadership of the President of Uzbekistan Sh. Mirziyoyev, a program document has been developed and is being implemented – the Strategy for the Development of New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026. The central place in the Strategy is occupied by the tasks of building a people’s and humane state that ensures the legitimate interests and well-being of every citizen on the basis of the ideas «In the name of human honor and dignity» and «The State for people».
According to the data from the UN, women today generate about 40% of global GDP. And it is estimated that if women were represented on an equal footing with men in all sectors of the economy, global GDP would increase by $28 trillion, or 26%, by 2025. That is why gender equality, one of the most important human rights, plays a key role in ensuring peace and harmony in society and the fullest realization of human potential through sustainable development.
Some time ago, gender equality issues were more declarative in nature. However, in recent years, thanks to the reforms carried out under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, we have achieved significant results. Thus, gender policy has become a system-forming factor in the development of society and the state. Concepts such as «gender and development», «gender expertise», «gender balance», «the role of women in social and political life» in fact are reflected in all program documents of the state and in the development of any normative legal act.
The Senate of the Oliy Majlis is directly involved in the development of the textile industry of the republic. The Republican Commission on the Promotion of the Role of Women in Society, Gender Equality and the Family, chaired by the President of the Senate, and the National Commission on Combating Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor conduct comprehensive research, develop and implement effective measures to ensure gender equality, support women, their employment in various sectors of the economy, including textiles, and create decent working conditions for them.
Here, the activities of the commissions are aimed not at improving statistics in this sphere, but at constantly taking care of our women, ensuring their rights and solving problems that concern them.
When systemic child labor was completely eradicated in 2016, the European Parliament ratified the inclusion of a textile protocol in the EU-Uzbekistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which provides for the abolition of quantitative restrictions and a reduction in customs duties when importing three thousand items of Uzbek textile products into the European Union countries. And in 2017, the Senate of the Oliy Majlis ratified the inclusion of Uzbekistan’s textile products in the Bilateral Trade Agreement with the EU.
One of the important tools of parliamentary control is the parliamentary inquiry, which will be effectively applied in the activities of the Senate. In 2022, in order to study the state of protection of women’s labor rights at enterprises of the light and leather industry, a corresponding parliamentary request was sent to the Cabinet of Ministers. The study of the data showed that all the necessary conditions have been created at the enterprises of the light and leather industry to ensure the qualitative provision of women’s labor rights and decent pay for their work.
In all measures taken, the main focus is on ensuring gender equality. Not only is there a gender balance in every enterprise, but also legal conditions to support women in order to prevent infringement of their rights.
– As a result of efforts to eradicate forced and child labor in Uzbekistan, the international coalition Cotton Campaign lifted the cotton boycott imposed on Uzbekistan in March 2022. What is your opinion, what kind of opportunities will this event give for the future of our country and what indicators might be achieved socially?
– It is no secret that for more than 12 years our cotton was under the so-called boycott, which did not allow many world brands to enter the textile market of Uzbekistan. However, democratic transformations, reforming the national economy, in particular measures to liberalize foreign trade, tax and financial policies, supporting business and guaranteeing the inviolability of private property, organizing deep processing of agricultural products, as well as work to ensure the accelerated development of the regions have brought tangible results.
The abolition of the cotton restriction – boycott should be considered as a natural consequence of the large-scale reforms initiated by the President in the cotton and textile industry. Such measures as the reduction of the state’s presence in the agricultural sector, the abolition of the establishment by the state of a production plan, the transition to market relations in cotton production, the diversification of agriculture through the creation of a cluster system, the prevention of forced and systematic mobilization of labor in the cotton sector, including by ensuring control and independent monitoring.
Taking into account the effectiveness and efficiency of the reforms carried out in this industry, on March 10, 2022, the Cotton Campaign international coalition officially announced the cancellation of the cotton boycott against Uzbekistan.
Today, the whole world is welcome the Uzbek textiles. The cancelation of the boycott of Uzbek cotton serves to create millions of new jobs, especially in rural areas, as well as attract foreign investment in the textile industry and expand Uzbekistan’s export potential.
After the cancellation of the cotton boycott, large international companies such as Inditex Group, MANGO, KIABI and a number of other popular textile brands are increasingly actively entering or planning to enter the republic’s market.
– Thanks to recent reforms in the textile industry and the active cooperation of the National Commission with the ILO and BCI, the Better Work and Better Cotton programs have been officially launched in our republic, and a number of events have already been held. How important are these projects in the textile industry?