40 Women of Kyrgyzstan
From Past to Present
"Every woman has a song to sing.
Every woman has a story to tell.
And make no mistake about it, brothers.
We women have the power to move mountains."
- Yoko Ono
Welcome to the project site for "40 Women of Kyrgyzstan – From Past to Present". This is a project which was set in motion by me, Isabelle Persson, during the autumn of 2016 when I was based in Osh, located in Southern Kyrgyzstan. I spent four months there, working as an intern at Novi Ritm – a youth organization which has developed a close partnership with the Central Asia Solidarity Groups.
“40 Women of Kyrgyzstan – From Past to Present” is one product of my stay in Kyrgyzstan, and it consists of 40 profiles on notable women, who was born in Kyrgyzstan as we know the country today. These women come from different places, and times, and they have all been working in different spheres, ranging from politics to arts.
This project began with a personal interest in HERstory, but has in the end become threefold:
1. To facilitate a process in which women enters Kyrgyz past and present, in the hope that continuously reporting on notable women will in the future decrease the risk of women being excluded from Kyrgyz history.
2. To counteract stereotypical notions in Sweden about Kyrgyz women. These stereotypes tend to reduce these women into postcolonial ideas about “third world women”, who is through Western eyes often wrongly perceived as passive, uneducated, and backwards.
3. To provide a source of inspiration for youth organizations in Kyrgyzstan, specifically Novi Ritm and its partners.
With this outlined, I welcome you to take part of 4 months’ work, and hope that you find it useful and enriching! I embrace constructive critique and aim to take into account feedback from you – but if you do not raise your voice, no one will know your opinion. Click on Contact to the right or find my contact details below to voice your opinion!
Lastly, I would like to thank all of the people, who in different ways have contributed to this project – I could not have done this without you! My biggest thanks and gratitude to Timothy Örbom, the artist behind the gorgeous portraits, and Ameli Frostell, the genius helping me putting all of the online-pieces together! Also, thanks to Rachael Mather and Kelly Oberlin for assisting me with their English skills! Not to forget, my dear Kyrgyz friends and colleagues who have inspired me in different ways, sometimes even without knowing it! And, of course, thanks to the Central Asia Solidarity Groups for this opportunity, and Gustaf Sörnmo for his guidance during this process!
Now, in sum, this is a humble collection of 40 notable Kyrgyz women, ranging from past to present, working in different areas and levels of Kyrgyz society, all ascribed various status and notoriety in Kyrgyz history. Enjoy!