Martial artists fight gender discrimination and violence in Tajikistan


Girls practice Taekwondo in Dushanbe, wearing t-shirts from the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. Sports federations in Tajikistan are working to advance gender equality and prevent violence against women. UNFPA Tajikistan/Panos Pictures/William Daniels

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – “Strong men respect women.” These were the words of World Taekwondo Champion Daler Tyuryaev, who is helping to lead a movement of martial artists in the battle against gender-based violence and discrimination in Tajikistan.

Mr. Tyuryaev, 28, is a prominent member of the National Taekwondo and Kickboxing Federation of Tajikistan (NTKF), which has partnered with UNFPA and the UN Country Team to promote gender equality and prevent gender-based violence. ... The network, initiated by the NTKF, is supported by UNFPA, UN Women and other UN agencies.

“Summer camps,” for example, have been organized to train martial artists in gender equality, violence prevention, community organizing and public speaking. Equipped with these tools, the fighters – mostly men – speak out against gender inequality and violence at martial arts lessons, matches and public gatherings. They also appeal to the public in videos and major media campaigns.

To keep reading, visit the UNFPA website, where this story was originally posted.