Tadschikistan: Bihodjal Rahimova

My dream is to strengthen peace in my country forever, to make the life of women and children free of violence, to help my people surmount this transition period, and survive the economic crisis.

— Bihodjal Rahimova

Bihojal Rahimova (born 1941) is a national adviser of the Unifem Project "Rights for the Land and Economic Safety of Rural Women" in Tajikistan. Owing to her efforts there have been significant changes in land reform legislation as well as in the state program on equal rights and possibilities for men and women. She pays special attention to the issues of access to land and credit for rural women. She brings to this task long experience as an important political figure in the Soviet Union and a profound concern for the rights of women.

Bihodjal Rahimova was born in the village of Yova in Khojand province. Her dream was to become an engineer. A hard-working woman, she is capable of working 24 hours, day and night, without complaint. Her adherence to principles and trustworthiness in relation to any kind of work won her the respect of thousands of people not just in Tajikistan, but in the other republics of the former USSR as well. She personifies the image of an emancipated Tajik woman: creative, educated, independent minded, active, driven, and energetic. Her mission is in politics. There are few individuals in Tajikistan and Central Asia who are like Bihodjal. She is the first and only woman in Central Asia to occupy a very high post in the former Soviet Union – Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Her main commitment is giving help to the people in need. Those who elected her know that she always keeps her word and fulfills her promises. The hardest period of her life, just as for many Tajik people, was the period of civil war in 1992-1994, when the fate of Tajikistan was being decided, when people were being openly killed, and when all human values were ignored. There was a real threat to her life and family, and they had to move from Dushanbe to Khojand. She had to re-examine everything: her life, family, position, and the people around her. She made the decision to stand with the people who want peace and prosperity for Tajikistan. The day of reconciliation came and now peace and order in Tajikistan are getting better and better. Life is becoming more stable, despite the economic difficulties. Bihodjal has the qualities of a real leader, she is rebellious and shrewd, but with an enormous thirst for justice and a sincere desire to fulfill her work. She is a fine politician and a good role model for all people, especially the young.