The Republic of Azerbaijan ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1995 and signed its optional protocol in 2000. The Family Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (779-IQ of December 28, 1999) defines the principles of establishing and strengthening family relations, their termination, rights and responsibilities of participants in family relations, responsibilities of state bodies in this field. The purpose of the Law On Ensuring Gender Equality (№ 150-IIIQ of October 10, 2006) is to ensure gender equality by eliminating all forms of discrimination based on gender, creating equal opportunities for men and women in the political, economic, social, cultural and other spheres of public life. The Law On the Prevention of Domestic Violence (№ 1058-IIIQ of June 22, 2010) focuses on domestic violence between close relatives to mitigate its adverse legal, medical and social outcomes and provide legal and social assistance for victims.
There are no legal restrictions on the participation of women in politics. As of 2020, there were 22 women in the 125-seat parliament, including the Speaker of the National Assembly. The percentage of female members of parliament increased from 11 to 17.6 per cent between 2005 and 2020. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic introduced universal suffrage in Azerbaijan in 1919, thus making Azerbaijan the first Muslim-majority country ever to enfranchise women.
The State Committee on Family, Women and Children’s Issues, a ministerial-level body responsible for implementing state policy on family, women and children’s affairs, was established based on the State Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Women’s Issues, by the Presidential Decree of 6 February 2006. In addition, there is also a Parliamentary Committee on Family, Women and Children’s Issues.
Concerning the gender aspect of equality in Azerbaijan, culture and education are traditionally mostly a “female” sphere. The vast majority of employees of libraries, museums, archives, music schools, theatres are women who also participate actively in managing culture.
The representation of women in key decision-making positions in cultural institutions and important cultural policymaking positions is also very high. For example, the Deputy Minister of Culture, seven heads of departments in the Ministry Administration, and the directors of many cultural institutions and arts organisations are women.
In the last decades, there has been a women’s movement growing throughout the Republic. Several specialised organisations have been set up in the cultural sphere and a whole series of magazines for women and about women are being published. The Association of Creative Women was established in July 1999 by professional creative women involved in culture, art and science. The Association’s goal is to develop national culture, art and science, raise the socio-cultural level of the low-income population, and carry out psychological rehabilitation activities with orphans, refugees, and disabled people. “Azerbaijan Gender Information Centre” AGIC is the first informational-analytical, bibliographical-documental centre of the women’s movement on the territory of the South Caucasus.