Colonial legacy and gender inequality in Uzbekistan

Danielle Kane, Ksenia Gorbenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article examines how the historical interaction between colonizer and colonized influenced gender inequality in the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan. The study demonstrates that the interaction had cultural and structural components that contributed to the establishment of gender conservatism as a national virtue. After the failure of other initiatives in the region, the Soviets launched a massive unveiling ritual in Uzbekistan that led to widespread resistance, including a wave of murders of unveiled women. At the same time, the Soviets left in place local patriarchal networks that reinforced this gender conservatism. To underscore the critical nature of these interactions and their variability, the study includes evidence from neighboring Kazakhstan, a nomadic society where women did not veil and where local networks were disrupted through Soviet-led collectivization and sedentarization. The study argues that these two societies interacted differently with the Soviet modernizing project, with implications for present-day disparities in gender equality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-735
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Central Asia
  • gender equality
  • postcolonialism
  • state formation
  • veil


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