MP Govhar Bakhshaliyeva: "Education makes women feel independent, socially protected"

MP Govhar Bakhshaliyeva: "Education makes women feel independent, socially protected"

Deputy of the Milli Majlis, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, editor-in-chief of 'Azerbaijan Oriental Studies' and 'Oriental Studies' journals, chairman of the Dissertation Council for 'Literature of Turkic Peoples' and 'World Literature', full-fledged member of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan and the International Academy of Sciences (Innsbruck, Austria) - and this is hardly a complete list of achievements of famous Azerbaijani Orientalist Govhar Bakhshaliyeva.

Govhar Bakhshaliyeva was born on November 26, 1954. She went from a senior laboratory assistant to the director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of ANAS. Govhar Bakhshaliyeva told Vestnik Kavkaza in an exclusive interview about the Republic of Azerbaijan's gender policy and explained why an Azerbaijani girl needs a degree.

- Your biography may be a guide for many Azerbaijani girls. Over the years, you have successfully combined scientific and social activities. Is it difficult to be a female leader, a female deputy in Azerbaijan?

- Any woman, in whatever country she lives, has certain obligations to the family. First and foremost, a woman is a wife and mother. She is a home keeper. However, in my opinion, if she has the potential, the necessary training, in order to lead, engage in social activities, her relatives should help her, create the necessary conditions for her personal fulfillment. A woman should feel the support of her family, in whatever office she takes.

With her family

- How do you feel about the fact that some husbands forbid their women from working after marriage?

- I think this is fundamentally wrong. After all, if a woman works, it is for the benefit of her family. She brings a certain income to the general family budget. However, if a man considers a woman’s work unacceptable in family life, he should warn his chosen one before their wedding, not after it. But I am convinced that a woman must receive an education and work.

- In recent years, more and more attention has been paid to gender policy in Azerbaijan. What are the results for today?

- In 2000, when I was first elected deputy, there were ten women in the country's parliament. But today, their number has doubled. Now one of the deputy heads in many executive bodies is a woman. Undoubtedly, women play an increasingly important role in the life of modern countries, of Azerbaijan, in particular.

- The prominent Azerbaijani philanthropist Zeynalabdin Tagiyev said that by educating a boy, you get one educated person, but by educating a girl, you get an educated family. Why do you think it is important for a girl to get a degree?

- I am convinced that the girl needs to get a degree. And if there is no such possibility, then at least secondary professional education, so that she could later, even in the worst case scenario, provide herself and her children, to be independent. A woman who depends on someone can be coerced to many things. Education makes a women feel independent, socially protected in her later life. I hope lives of all the girls to be good and they to be happy in marriage. But sometimes it doesn't happen. How many women abandoned by their husbands are forced to find a way to provide for themselves and their children. Sometimes women who are unable to find work because of a lack of a diploma or at least any professional skills that are taught in secondary specialized educational institutions are forced to take the wrong path.

My father always said that a girl needs education even more than a boy. Because in the worst case, a boy can be engaged in arduous physical work when he grows up. But a girl can't.

With her father Bakhshali Bakhshaliyev (on the left), her mother and uncle

- Your father Bakhshali Bakhshaliyev headed the Ministry of Finance of the Azerbaijan SSR in the 1970s-1980s. As a daughter of a minister, did you have any privileges or, on the contrary, did you feel a great responsibility?

- I had a very strict, demanding father. Therefore, like my brothers and sisters, I have always felt a great responsibility. My father brought up modesty in us, self-discipline, inculated a habit of daily hard work. I am sure that everything I have achieved is precisely because of this habit and self-discipline. Therefore, after years, I am especially grateful to my father for the qualities he brought up in me.

- Since 2000, you are a member of the Milli Majlis. Which problems currently facing the Azerbaijani society, in your opinion, should be given priority attention?

- The primary problem for us today, of course, is the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The Milli Majlis delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, led by me, raises this issue each time at the international forums of this organization. For the last time, two resolutions, aimed against the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, were adopted thanks to our efforts at the 13th session of the Parliamentary Union, held in Tehran in January 2018. They, in particular, condemn the plundering and destruction of archaeological, cultural and religious monuments in the occupied territories of our republic.

Speech at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Cairo

- You wrote sixteen books, four of which are monographs, and more than 200 scientific and popular science articles. What will be your next scientific work?

- At the moment I am working on the fourth volume of my book 'Articles, reports, interviews ...', two volumes of which were published in 2011, and the third is being published.

In the Milli Majlis vice speaker's office

- The year of 2019 has been declared the year of Nasimi in Azerbaijan. How do you think it will affect the promotion of the literary heritage of the great Azerbaijani poet?

- Our people have the richest culture, which has a long history. Already in the 12th century, Azerbaijani poets managed to create literary masterpieces in their native language, of which we are justly proud. At that time, such eminent poets as Nizami Ganjavi, Abul-Ala Ganjavi and Mahsati Ganjavi worked in Ganja alone. But many people at that time had just started to develop their writing, in languages which cannot be perceive by modern reader without special training. In my opinion,  from early childhood our children should get acquainted with the works of Nizami, Fuzuli, Nasimi, with the high ideals of humanism brought to our lives by their works.

It is deeply symbolic that the year 2019 was declared by the president the Year of Nasimi, who played an exceptional role in the formation of the Azerbaijani language. Without any doubt, it testifies to the attention paid by the republic’s leadership to the preservation of the Azerbaijani literary heritage. With his creativity, Nasimi spiritualized a person, fought with cruelty and despotism, social injustice that reigned in society at that time. The Azerbaijani President's announcement of 2019 as the year of Nasimi will give a new impetus to the development of Nasimi studies and will promote the broad propaganda of humanistic values advocated by the poet both in our country and abroad.

The Milli Majlis delegation in Saudi Arabia, at the reception at the governor of Riyadh province Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (now King of Saudi Arabia)

On the eve of March 8 holiday in Milli Majlis

With Academician-Secretary of ANAS Department of Social Sciences Nargiz Akhundova and Director of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of ANAS Maisa Rahimova

At the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union. Paris