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Mongolian Women’s Federation
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НҮБ-ын Анна-Карин Жатфорс зочин илтгэгчээр оролцож, үг хэлнэ
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Women cannot go beyond the household zone and become economically dependent

Women cannot go beyond the household zone and become economically dependent

This year the Mongolian Women's Federation, Asia's first women's organization, celebrates its 95th anniversary. This organization established under the name "Women's Development Division" for almost a century carried out activities to educate women, to ensure their right to vote and be elected and carried out activities in the field of protecting women's rights. Ms. Amgalan, Board Member of the MWF noted that this year the Federation is conducting a lot of work aimed at society under the motto “For a brighter and better future”. We had an interview with a Board Member of the MWF Ms. Amgalan about the current activities and plans of the Mongolian Women's Federation, as well as finding solutions to the issues that are encountered in today's society.

- First of all I want to congratulate you on the 95th anniversary of the Mongolian Women's Federation. The Mongolian Women's Federation was once funded by the state, had the status of a state and public organization. After democracy it began to conduct independent activities and became a non-governmental organization. From this time some people began to criticize the activities of the Mongolian Women's Federation. How do you look back on  history of the Mongolian Women's Federation as a Board Member?

- Congratulations to all mothers and women of Mongolia, all readers on the 95th anniversary. This organization was established in 1924 under the name "Women's Development Division", was able to include the right of women to vote and be elected in the first Constitution of the country. Therefore the Mongolian Women's Federation has a historical merit. In 1924-1990 the Women's Department carried out activities to educate women; during the war years women voluntarily brought help to the front. And also during the cultural revolution the role of the Women's Department was enormous. After the 1990s the activities of the Mongolian Women's Federation worsened. Previously it was financed by the state, had the status of a state and public organization. But one day was left without funding and support. Therefore it was difficult to carry out activities. In these difficult years, over the past 30 years the leaders of branch councils in aimags, soums and the capital have been carrying out activities of the Mongolian Women's Federation with a good heart. I believe that we need to thank the women who, along with their main work, along with caring for family and children, continued the activities of this Federation.

- In recent years cases of violence against girls and women shocked a society. Everyone discusses this issue and seeks solutions. What are the ways to resolve this issue that the Mongolian Women's Federation has identified and what measures are being implemented?

- People are discussing the role of women's organizations in society, about what responsibilities it should bear now. If we compare the state with the family, then the history shows that this organization performed the role of the hostess and mother. And I think that now it also performs this role. Over the past year the Mongolian Women's Federation has focused its activities on the issue of combating violence against girls and women. For example, with the assistance of the Government of Mongolia on March 7 this year in the State Palace we held a national forum "The participation of every citizen in the fight against violence". In this case we try not to single out the victim, not to politicize this issue, but to find what exactly is the reason for such crimes and find effective solutions. Therefore in an open hearing of the Chairman of the Great State Khural, which took place in the spring, the Mongolian Women's Federation took part and filed 9 proposals.

Violence can be of many kinds: sexual, social, psychological, economic, physical, etc. Sexual violence prevail, which causes concern. Especially the government should take into account crimes against young girls, parents and citizens should pay attention to the environment in which the child is raised and how he or she is raised. When we talk about these types of crimes decision makers discuss the policy of punishment. A tough punishment policy is present. The issue of violence must be resolved not only by a policy of harsh punishment. It is necessary to consider this issue in a wide range. If we look at the information and statistics related to child abuse, we see that there are many cases of escape from punishment. The report of the General Prosecutor's Office mentioned that in 80 identical criminal cases, 80 different decisions were made. Therefore in order to deal with cases of escape from punishment, we presented a proposal to amend the procedural legislation.

Also in 85% of cases of such crimes criminals are relatives or close people. "Even the beast does not stomp it's sprout", and today we live in a society where the father is raping his daughter. The number of crimes of sexual abusing of a daughter is 10% of all crimes of child abuse. And the crime rate of sexual abusing of a step-daughter is 19.5%.

When we talk about crimes against girls and women the issue of the economic situation of women arises. When a woman is economically dependent, she becomes a victim of violence, also gives birth to a child in the midst of violence. In Mongolia today there are 98 thousand women who sit at home and care for their children, 72 thousand single mothers, 112 thousand people with disabilities. Single mothers have 36 thousand minor children. 80% of them cannot receive allowances. Therefore we transmitted the proposal that it is necessary to amend the laws "About Enforcement of Judgment", "About Allowances". The issue of allowances is a small issue. Behind it stands the issue of the health and education of the child, the issue of the psychology of the child. In the future the Mongolian Women's Federation will pay attention not only to issues about allowances, but will also organize work to determine policies. First of all we need a law regulating the payment of child allowance. According to the existing law it states that if a child has reached the age of 18, it is considered to have reached the age of majority. Therefore after 18 years do not pay allowances. This law provision needs to be reviewed.

The next issue which the Mongolian Women's Federation raised was the amendment of the Health Care Law so that a pediatric gynecologist should work in each secondary school. There are many cases of violence against young girls and child pregnancy. Also the issue of sexual health is one of the issues that we must pay attention immediately. Paragraph 5.2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states: "Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation". With the advent of pediatric gynecologists in secondary schools, the level of reproductive education will increase, the possibility of risk prevention and the level of prevention also will increase. Next there is a need to give boys reproductive education and information.

Also there is a need to make changes to the Education Law, need to include to the educational system lesson on family planning. We also sent a proposal about this issue. If we do not pay attention to the primary unit of society - the family, the number of cases of family divorce increases every year by 10%. We cannot rule out that this will become the basis and cause of the cases of violence, poverty, unemployment, all other issues related to single mothers and children.

Therefore it is necessary to develop a program suitable for all age categories of the child. Each organization should have a Family Council. For the first time on May 15 this year the Mongolian Women's Federation celebrated Family Day at the national level. We conveyed to the Government of Mongolia our proposal to celebrate International Family Day at the national level, to declare this day a holiday, so that all families can spend this day together, so that people understand their responsibility to provide the care for family.

In the fight against child violence, the participation of not only a women's organization, but a men's organization, all women, men, members of Parliament and every citizen is necessary. All must be held accountable, especially parents. Everyone should pay attention.

- The reason for the increase of violence is explained in different ways. Some say that until today these types of crimes have been committed in stealth. Others say that the Mongols began to pay attention to the education of girls, missed the boys. How do you see the main reason for this issue?

- Everyone explain this issue in their own way. There are many reasons, beginning with the responsibilities of the individual and parents and other social reasons. As you said this type of crime can be committed in stealth. And thanks to the development of the social network, the revitalization of citizens participating in social relations has surfaced. Researchers put forward several premises. One of them is that after the 1990s Mongolia forgot about the development of citizens. During the transition from one social relationship to another, the transition to a market mechanism, due to economic conditions parents began to chase economic freedom and left their children, missed their education. Maybe the children of these times today have become parents. The issue of non-responsible parents is related to their upbringing. I believe that this is one of the main reasons for the increase of violence.

Secondly, no one except you will raise your child. You yourself will educate them. The main outcome of the fight against violence is the participation of every citizen. Each person has the power to be a good parent, to properly raise children, to  participate in public relations and be responsible. I do not hide that today there are a lot of critics. Raising a child is a direct responsibility of parents. The Mongolian Women's Federation put forward the initiative to amend the Family Law to increase the duties and responsibilities of parents. Parents raise a child bad, and then blame others and society for this. The Mongolian Women's Federation held a national forum “The participation of every citizen in the fight against violence” and launched a national campaign. In the future we will continue this work.

- It seems to me that if every woman has an income, then this will become the basis for solving many social issues. In this direction what work is the Mongolian Women's Federation planning?

- The Mongolian Women's Federation is working to open a Women's Development Center in 21 provinces of Mongolia. To date such centers have opened in 3-4 provinces. Also in the main office of our Federation we have opened a training center "The Union of Skillful Women". During this time 14 women underwent training and learned how to sew a national costume - deeli. The time has come to measure development not by a university, not by the Harvard diploma, but by measuring what you can do in everyday life. You need to be able to make a yogurt, bake bread, sew deeli. Then you will not spend money and buy it, but you can cook and sew it yourself at home. The Mongolian Women's Federation will also organize trainings aimed at human development, for example, makeup, face care and personal care courses. Of course, our target group is unemployed women who sit at home and take care of the child, single mothers, also pensioners who is able to work. It is quite possible not to wait for pension, but to start a small business, improve their life. We also set a great goal to create a greenhouse, a cooperative, small workshops and factories in order to support the employment of women. We will also create a network. Over the past 30 years the Mongolian Women's Federation has not received financial support from the state and assistance in the development of policies. Based on our inner potential, with the support of many successful women we continue our work. I want you to actively participate in the activities of the Mongolian Women's Federation in the future, support its work, and also develop yourself, be friends with each other and learn from each other.

- The Mongolian Women's Federation organizes an international forum "For a brighter and better future". How do you present the results of this forum?

- We set a goal to share foreign best practices and implement them. And with the assistance of the Government of Mongolia we are ready to hold an international forum "For a brighter and better future" in the State Palace. Representatives of the Government of 10 countries, leaders and delegations of foreign women's organizations, representatives of international partner organizations will take part in this forum. Within the framework of the forum discussions will be held on three main topics: "Violence against girls and women", "Participation of women in decision-making", "Economic independence of women". We aimed to share foreign best practices and realize the world standard in Mongolia. For example, the Ambassador at Large for Combating Trafficking in Persons of Sweden's Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be the keynote speaker.

The most important thing is to find effective ways to resolve issues related to the fight against violence and implement them in our country. In the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals worldwide, the main goal is to increase the quota of women in decision-making up to 50%. There are many examples of the fact that, within the framework of this goal, some countries have carried out a big coup and in connection with this there have been positive changes in the country's development, economic and social relations.

This forum is being held before the Parliamentary elections. Therefore this forum will offer several solutions to political parties. For example, proposals related to the quota for women, legislative changes related to the fight against violence and ways for solving issues related to the economic situation of women will be put forward. Systematic approaches for political parties will be put forward. Regardless of which political structure will own the majority of seats in the Parliament, we will continue to put forward our demands and proposals. We believe that this forum is aimed at visionary results and  it is being held at the right time.

- One of my interviewers said: “Only women will understand women's issues. No matter how caring and good the man is, he will not fully understand women's issues. Therefore by choosing the appropriate number of women at the decision-making level, we can solve the issues facing women”.

-  Yes. The same thing that we will not fully understand men and feel like them, although we can know them well and understand them well. When we talk about the level of decision-making, people understand and think only of the members of Parliament, the women governors of the provinces. Here we need to talk about women-governors of small administrative units, such as bag, soum, district. If there are positive changes at this stage, then changes will occur.

- In the 21st century the possibility of freedom of speech and other types of freedoms  is open before women. But the traditional concept of equality remains. How to radically change this concept?

- We are not talking about privileges, we talk about equality. After the victory of the People's revolution, teaching women literacy was considered a bad omen, as if a wolf had attacked a herd. Although Mongolia is considered to be a gender equal country at the international level on gender equality, in fact an established tradition is still preserved. For example, after work the husband lies on the sofa and watches TV, while the woman cooks dinner, cleans the house, takes care of the child. We must change these trends at the mind level. There are many families where spouses have mutual respect and support each other. Public opinion and attitude is changing gradually, but an established tradition is still preserved. This cannot be changed and regulated by law. But we need to change through society, culture, our mind, faith and belief. Today youth respects and supports women, accepts them, women hold positions at the decision-making level. We will not deny these positive changes. But these changes are not enough. In terms of the number of women in the decision-making level of Mongolia is below the international average. In fact, there is no province with a female governor. International studies have shown that the role and participation of women in the state is important. This issue is included in the Sustainable Development Goals, and the countries of the world follow these goals. There are studies when many women go to the decision-making level, the social issues of that country are well resolved and the corruption index decreases.

- Women's organizations of our neighbors, for example, the Russian Federation, People's Republic of China, the Republic of Korea have the status of a state organization. The Mongolian Women's Federation also had the status of a state and social organization. Is it possible to restore this status?

- More than 10 countries of the world have a Ministry for Women, Children and Family Affairs. Some countries have an Ambassador responsible for children and women, and women's organizations operate at the ministry level. The Mongolian Women's Federation sent a proposal to the Government of Mongolia that the Federation should have the status of a state and public organization. I hope that the authority will make decisions based on the fact what activities this large national organization carried out  and what responsibilities it carried, as well as today's resources, opportunities and potentials. In recent years the Government of Mongolia has begun to pay attention to issues of women and children, supports a women's organization, assists in carrying out work aimed at society and also listens to the voice of the Mongolian Women's Federation in finding solutions to issues facing society. Therefore I personally and on behalf of the Mongolian Women's Federation, on behalf of a thousand women of Mongolia want to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister of Mongolia. I want the Government of  Mongolia to support the women's organization in the future, to facilitate, especially take decisive measures to restore the status of the Mongolian Women's Federation. I want to emphasize once again that the Mongolian Women's Federation is an organization independent from political parties, which operates at the national level, has a 95-year history and is the first women's organization in Asia. Using the potential and capabilities of this organization, the Mongolian state will be able to carry out a lot of work. I wish that state organizations change their attitude, that they cooperate with public organizations. There are many specialized non-governmental organizations except the Mongolian Women's Federation.

- You and the President of the Mongolian Women's Federation Ms. Oyungerel took part in the Global Women's Summit which was held in July. What are the goals and visions of women of the world? What is common between them and Mongolian women? What could be our feature with which we can lead the world?

- The Mongolian Women's Federation is one of 10 members of the Global Women's Summit. We send our representatives to this forum, keep up with international development. Leading women from developed countries, such as France, Italy, Germany shared their experiences as how they worked hard, how they fought to rise to the level of decision-making. The issues facing the women of the world will never end. This issue occurs in both a small and a large developed country. Therefore we must not give up that our country is small, has a small population. The level of our education is same, we can speak the world language, we can receive world news, successful women who own several professions live among us. We need only state support. Also in the world the issue of women's economic dependence is posed equally. Therefore at the global level they discuss how to develop women, how to make them creative, active, able to overcome all kinds of obstacles. In order to achieve economic independence, women work hard. But there is a tendency that this great work will depreciate. Women cannot go beyond the boundaries of the household zone, thus becoming economically dependent. In solving this issue the implementation of international effective experience is needed.

- You probably have a lot to teach young girls, advise them as a woman leader ...

- It is necessary to pay more attention to public policy. It is necessary to revise public policy and move forward basing on principles. Previously we followed the system of gradual career growth. First a person got a job as a specialist, after two years he became a senior specialist, then the head of the division, the head of the department, and after 5 years the head of the organization. Such a person is characterized by that he has held a leading position for 15 years, therefore he is able to occupy a high-ranking public position. This is how they trained personnel; therefore in the previous society, the political situation was stable. I am not a Minister of State, but I held a senior position of middle rank, was a leader among women, trained at the political level and I am one of the women-leaders. As a woman who is over the age of 50 I have an effort to prepare the next generation, to teach and guide them, to contribute to the preparation of strong women.

- Please tell us how you connected your life with the Mongolian Women's Federation?

- I have a specialty in agriculture. From my student years I was socially active girl, I loved sports (I own the title of Master of Sports in Volleyball). I began my working career in 1986 from the Women's Council of the Khentii Province. At that time according to state policy, was carried out work to educate and develop women, prepare successful and strong women and strengthen the social status of women. And after the 1990s I live and work in Ulaanbaatar. For these 30 years I worked as the governor of the Bayangol district for 8 years, worked as the Representative of the District Citizens' Representative Khural and the Citizens' Representative Khural of Ulaanbaatar, and now I hold a senior position in the banking sector. Over these years I was being associated with the women's organization.

Thank you for the interview.

Journalist Bulganchimeg L.



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