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Women leaders from Kyrgyzstan on stereotypes that hinder professional development and how to overcome them

01.06.2024

Women leaders from Kyrgyzstan on stereotypes that hinder professional development and how to overcome them

We tell the stories of women who have built successful careers and achieved great results in their professional lives in major cities of Kyrgyzstan.


Jamal Duishekeeva, 47 years old, Bishkek, organizational development expert, linkedin

Как женщины строят карьеру в Кыргызстане

About me

I am an expert in organizational development, human capital management and digital transformation. I work with the Kanda CA team on optimization of business processes and creation of a new cluster of IT specialists - modern IT specialists with developed Soft Skills, emotional intelligence and leadership.

Over the last five years I have worked in different spheres: services, construction, HoReCa, banks and microfinance companies. I also develop the direction of business psychoanalysis.

My most successful “projects” are my son and daughter.

The beginning of my journey

I was born in the city of Karakol, where I lived until I was 10 years old.

The size of a city determines the opportunities it provides. On the one hand, it facilitates development, and on the other hand, it creates a competitive environment. But, in my opinion, it doesn't have much impact on achievements. After all, there are many success stories of our fellow citizens from small settlements. In many ways, success is the result of each person's personality, motivation and circumstances.

I have always wanted to work with people. I thought about becoming a teacher, a lawyer or a translator. I enrolled as an interpreter and a psychologist. In the end, I chose the latter, but in life I play the role of an “interpreter”. After all, in HR, you have to act as a bridge between employer and employee. As a digital transformation consultant, I literally “translate” the language of business for IT and vice versa.

I am an MBA psychologist with over 20 years of HR experience in the financial industry. One day I quit my job and became a consultant. Got back into practice. This is especially helpful today when mental health and motivation issues are actualized during times of crisis and transformation.

Career milestones

After graduating from university, I worked in A. A. Brudny's Laboratory of Understanding Processes. At the same time, I studied at graduate school and wrote my dissertation on political leadership.

Later I developed in the banking sector and worked as a senior lecturer at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University. In my career there were “high heights”: the position of a top manager, working in the best bank, which for the first time in the country received a high rating by Moody's, with a team of more than 2000 employees, colorful events, a cool team. I left my job twice to “nowhere”, but each time I found new ideas for development.

About stereotypes and difficulties

I have been lucky with managers and business owners. I have always felt no-pressure leadership and support in everything: in initiatives and leading new projects. It seems to me that the level of trust depends on the requirements you set for yourself and the work you do, on your motivation and desire for constant development.

Often girls who are successful in their careers are not realized in the “female” role, acting on an equal footing with men. Many studies show that women's pay is lower under the same working conditions. Another peculiarity is that men have a need for grouping. Examples: team sports and “male solidarity”. Women don't have this, so there is more competition between them. However, it is worth noting that women now have more opportunities and avenues for fulfillment.

What helps me in my work and life is my love for people, belief in what I do, discipline, consistency and constant professional development. It is important to always be ready for change.

Recommendations

The most important thing is not to be afraid. A woman should have an education and a craft that will give confidence and allow for less dependence on life's circumstances.

It is necessary to have a healthy narcissism: if a woman does not value herself, her intelligence and achievements, does not believe in her own strength and does not see potential in herself, then others will not appreciate her either.


Eliza Kerimbekova, 37, Osh, director of the branch of Kompanion Bank, @eliza.kerimbekoval

Женщины и карьера в Кыргызстане

About me

I am a wife, mom and director of the Osh branch of Kompanion Bank.

I love books. If in my youth I read everything in a row, from detectives to poems, now I read fewer works with repeated rereading.

I like to spend time with my family, go for walks, and discuss different topics. It's interesting - growing up children teach me a lot.

The beginning of the path

I was born and grew up in the city of Naryn. For a short time I lived in the city of Kara-Balta. And since 2023 I have been living in Osh. The city influences professional development: the bigger the scale, the more opportunities. On the other hand, everywhere you can make the most of what you have.

I have always had career ambitions. My mother instilled in me the understanding that a woman should have an education and an occupation to be engaged in. She often said that a woman should do what she loves, because work gives us development, environment and aspiration for more. Therefore, I dreamed of becoming a professional in my field and realizing my potential.

I received my first education in Bishkek financial and economic technical school named after A. Toktonaliev. Then I studied at the Academy of Management under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, specializing in banking, and received an MBA degree at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University in the field of risk management.

I have been working in my specialty for 16 years. At the same time I am always interested in other spheres.

Career milestones

I started my career path in the eighth grade, when I passed the competition in the “School of Young Leaders” of the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan. The knowledge provided here laid a solid foundation for the development of emotional intelligence, training and negotiation skills. Later I became a trainer at this school. For several years I was a volunteer in various NGOs. We worked with disabled children and dysfunctional families. It was then that I realized that a lot depends on each person, and the right civic position is the key to the success of a healthy and prosperous nation.

When I joined Bank Kompanion and familiarized myself with the social mission, I realized that I was on the right path. Here I passed all the stages: from an intern to the director of one of the largest branches.

About stereotypes and difficulties

The biggest stereotype in my career was that a young manager, and I became one at the age of 22, would not be able to cope with his duties. I believe that life experience is important, but the desire to develop, show empathy and love what you do is even more important.

In Kyrgyz families, women face the challenges of balancing home and career. It is especially difficult when your job involves frequent business trips. I traveled with my infants and mother, then with a nanny and a cradle in blizzards and blizzards, often for weeks at a time. Throughout the years I have been supported by my husband and my mom, who believes that family and development are equally important areas for a woman.

I love people and try to see the good in them. Everything in my life is simple: honesty, integrity, searching for joy and happiness every day, showing resilience and finding strength in myself. Everyone has slumps, it's normal. The main thing is to be able to pull yourself out in time, not to chase other people's dreams and determine what is important to you.

Recommendations

Study and study again. In our time there are a large number of opportunities. Many attitudes about life and work have changed. Therefore, there is no need to be afraid to try new things. Do any work honestly and efficiently and do not regret what was. Remember: in our information age it is important to dose and choose the right information.

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