Introducing: 40 Women of Kyrgyzstan – From Past to Present

On the 31st of January 2017, the project “40 Women of Kyrgyzstan – From Past to Present” was made available to everyone online. Maybe you have already seen it through Facebook or Instagram? If not, here is a short introduction to the project and its different channels, so you know how to maximize your learning about the important contributions of 40 women in Kyrgyz society for two centuries!

Novi Ritm’s previous volunteer from Sweden, Isabelle Persson (who some of you may know as Bella), started working on this project during her stay with us! It all began with the rich history of women in Kyrgyzstan, which anyone can take part of through historical monuments. Isabelle was amazed when she, during her first days in Bishkek, saw the 28 metres high monument symbolizing the Kyrgyz and Russian mothers holding hands in unity on Chui Avenue. Soon thereafter, she discovered the large monument of Urkuya Salieva and she was hooked – she just had to explore who this person was!

The monument of Urkuya Salieva in Bishkek


5 months later, Isabelle had managed to write 40 profiles on different women who in different ways have contributed to Kyrgyz society. Through asking around amongst Kyrgyzstani friends,

Kurmanjan Datka

exploring the street names of Bishkek, and visiting different museums, especially in Osh, she managed to narrow the selection down to forty. Through the whole process, the key word of this project has been diversity – the women are all from different times, different areas,

Ainagul Amatbekova

and have had different occupations within different spheres. The oldest included is the national heroine Kurmanjan Datka, and the youngest is our very own Ainagul Amatbekova, current Chairperson of Novi Ritm.

To make the project more creatively appealing, Timothy Örbom was invited to experiment with the photos of the women. Timothy then created the colorful and vibrant artworks that accompany the texts today. His first finished portrait was that of Dinara Asanova, shortly accompanied by Bubusara Beyshenalieva, and from there it simply continued. The portraits have a similar style, yet each one of them are slightly different from the other. Except from Isabelle and Timothy, many people with backgrounds from all over the world have contributed to the project, and one central aim is now to continuously receive feedback from people and organizations which might have use of the information the project entails. This is why there is an easily accessible contact-sheet on the website, so that anyone who has constructive criticism may share that with the project team. However, if you do not raise your voice, no one will hear it!

Today, the project can be found on Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram, you can enjoy fun and/or interesting facts about women’s rights in Central Asia, and visually experience elements of women’s history all over the world. On Facebook, you can get a peak behind the scenes, learn more about women’s rights news and history with a particular focus on Central Asia and the Nordic countries, and learn of events related to gender equality. Also, since Monday, one woman from the project will be highlighted on social media each week to increase the knowledge on the women included. This week, Ainagul Amatbekova is the one brought into light, so please, take a look at her profile and feel free to voice your opinion! Or immerse yourself in all of the amazing stories of these women of Kyrgyzstan here! We recommend you to get involved through those means accessible to you, and if you have further questions contact the team here!

40 Women of Kyrgyzstan

Thanks to all who in different ways, big or small, have contributed to this project! You have all been so important in the process!

Are you interested in becoming more involved? Right now, the team is looking for someone who knows English and Russian, and who wants to become an essential part of the team! We prefer if you identify as Kyrgyzstani and as a woman, and if you know Kyrgyz, that is a plus! Contact Isabelle through her email:

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