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Spotlight Article

Women of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan America Alliance
December 08, 2014

On December 3, 2014 Femmes Digitales, a female information and communications technology group, was launched in Azerbaijan. The official opening ceremony was held at the Baku Expo Center during the “BakuTel” 2014 telecommunications and information technology exhibition. Femmes Digitales is the first professional organization for Azerbaijani women in the ICT field, but the organization already has impressive leadership. The founders of the organization hold high-level positions at companies such as Microsoft, HP, Azercell, Bakcell, Azerfon, BBTV, and the Communications & High Technologies Ministry.

Besides creating opportunities for Women in ICT from the public and private sectors to connect, the founders of Femmes Digitales also want to encourage women and girls to pursue education and careers in the field. The ICT sector is rapidly becoming more significant to Azerbaijan’s economy with an income that has doubled over the past five years. Azerbaijan has long been a supporter of equality for women, and the growing demand for talent in ICT is a perfect opportunity to carve out opportunities for women.

Azerbaijan has supported the rights of Women since its establishment, something that cannot be said of the leading democracies of today. Azerbaijan granted suffrage to women in 1918, the year of its founding, making it the first majority Muslim state to do so. Women have held senior government positions including deputy speaker of parliament, deputy minister and deputy chair of the Central Election Commission. Additionally, there are currently twenty women in in the Parliament of Azerbaijan, which is the same number of women currently in the United States Senate. However, although Azerbaijan is proud of its secular history, it is not resting on its laurels.

Azerbaijan continually makes efforts to improve Women’s standing and promote equality. This past November, Baku hosted a sixteen day conference focused on fighting violence against women entitled “Power to Women, Progress to the Society.” UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan Antonius Broek addressed the event and explained that although violence against women has no connection to the political or religious nature of Azerbaijan, it is an issue that needs to be faced globally.

Mehriban Arif qizi Aliyeva, head of the Haydar Aliyev Foundation


Luckily there are powerful Azerbaijani women who serve as role models and trail blazers as the status of women rises in the world. Mehriban Arif qizi Aliyeva, wife of President Ilham Aliyev, is head of Azerbaijan's Haydar Aliyev Foundation and a very active and influential political voice.  Natavan Miratova is major general of Azerbaijan making her the third highest ranked military officer in the country. Here in Washington, DC Susan Sadigova, Executive Director at the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, represents Azerbaijani female leader in the United States. Each of these women embodies the secular values on which Azerbaijan was founded. 

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