Local Diversity and Inclusion Spotlight: Kazakhstan
Welcome to the sixth installment in the ongoing Local Diversity and Inclusion Spotlight series. In these blog posts, we’ll be exploring how various countries around the world address diversity and inclusion in their culture and workplace.
Our newest spotlight country? Kazakhstan, a country that celebrates its Independence Day in December.
Here are five things to know about diversity and inclusion in Kazakhstan.
Expect to find that women are well-represented in the workforce; however, there is a wage gap, and men are more likely to be business owners and senior-level managers.
Today, women are well-represented in the workforce; however, they are not paid as well as men, and men still tend to run businesses and occupy most senior-level positions. Many foreign managers comment that young Kazakhstani women are very career-oriented and easy to train, while many men tend to relax and stop contributing as soon as they have achieved the level they desire.
Because of the respect for elders in Kazakhstan, older women may find it easier to establish credibility than younger ones.
Because of the respect for elders in Kazakhstani society, older women command a lot of respect. Younger women may have to work harder to establish credibility. Older men tend to treat younger women very informally in the workplace; flirting and asking personal questions is commonplace.
No legal protections against anti-LGBT discrimination are in place.
Many LGBT people in Kazakhstan face discrimination because of their sexual orientations or gender identities. Many of them feel the need to keep their sexual orientations secret to avoid the dangers imposed by others who are hostile toward sexual minorities. This is especially true in the workplace, where LGBT people may be fired or face mistreatment from coworkers and managers. Families have been known to disown LGBT relatives in Kazakhstan, and the Orthodox Church may excommunicate them.
Discrimination and hostility toward LGBT people is fairly common, and the police generally do little about it. Most LGBT people in Kazakhstan choose to keep their sexual identities secret.
Societal attitudes in Kazakhstan tend to be deeply conservative, with a strong strain of homophobia. Negative attitudes toward LGBT people are evident in common behaviors such as social exclusion, taunting, and violence. Attempts to report anti-LGBT violence are often met with resistance and even hostility from police, and some doctors refuse to treat LGBT people. News reporters whose commentaries seem too sympathetic to LGBT people have been attacked in the streets.
Consensual sex for same-sex partners is legal in Kazakhstan.
Consensual sex for same-sex partners has been legal in Kazakhstan since 1998, but same-sex couples are not given the same legal protections as opposite-sex couples. There are no anti-discrimination laws protecting sexual minorities, and same-sex marriage is not legal. Gay men are not accepted into the military. Transgender people have no easy way to change their gender identifications in official documents.
In 2015, the Constitutional Court rejected legislation aimed at protecting children (under the age of 18) from information promoting nontraditional sexual orientation. The proposed ban on “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” was thrown out on the grounds that it contained vague language, but many believe it was rejected because such prejudicial legislation would have undermined Kazakhstan’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
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