Uzbekistan: Women in Transition (1998)
In Uzbekistan, when you want to curse someone you say, “May you live in a transitional period.”
“Uzbekistan: Women In Transition”, shot in 1998 by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Olga Shalygin, documents the tumultuous changes in the lives of women in Uzbekistan as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Uzbekistan, a predominantly Muslim, former Soviet Republic is experiencing many new types of problems as a result of its independence in 1991.
Compared to their neighbors in Afghanistan, Muslim women under the Soviet system made huge advances in independence and equality. They also had a strong social safety net. With
independence the social safety net disappeared and Islamic fundamentalism is growing.
While new opportunities have opened up to women, economic hardships associated with the country’s
transition period from the Soviet system to a market economy have placed extra burdens on the lives of
Uzbek women. Economic instability, cultural attitudes and values of this Islamic, male-dominated society are making it difficult for women to fully experience new, post-Soviet opportunities.
The threat of war and violence spreading from neighboring Afghanistan also weighs heavily on the minds of women.
Some women yearn for the old Soviet system with the benefits they previously enjoyed, while others are willing to endure the hardships of this transition period because of their hope for a better life for their children.
This documentary explores these tensions women are facing in post-Soviet Uzbekistan.
Copyright 1998 - Red Door Video Productions www.reddoorvideo.com
This work was supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundation