by Chris Rickleton
Gender battles continue to play a central role in Kyrgyz politics and society. While women occupy prominent positions in public life, notably more so than in the country’s immediate neighbors, the constant grind of negative stereotyping and harassment affects the way many are able to do their job. The following is a compelling blog post originally written by Kyrgyz journalist Asel Kalybekova for EurasiaNet.org’s Inside the Cocoon blog under the title Bishkek Journal: I want an Interview, Not a Date:
“When I knock on the door of yet another Kyrgyz politician, civil servant or businessman, I have many questions. That’s my job as a journalist. But the most nerve-racking question is not in my notebook: Will he hit on me?
“The first time I interviewed an official in Bishkek, he tried to hold my hand while we were alone in his office. I left, humiliated, thinking this would never happen again. I was wrong.”