Turkmenistan: Ogul Nabat Babayeva

Let us glorify Mother-woman, the whole world is fed by her breast!” M. Gorky

— Ogul Nabat Babayeva

Ogul Nabat Babayeva (born 1949) founded the organization Hemayat (“protector"). It mission is the protection of women's rights in Turkmenistan. The organization offers legal education for women and children and socially aggrieved layers of the population, as well as other services related to issues of labor, family, and civil rights. Ogul Nabat has always given special attention to victims of family violence, trafficking of women, and to women’s reproductive health.

A lawyer, Ogul Nabat Babayeva helps realize the hopes for happiness of hundreds of thousands of Turkmen women. She was born to a large Turkmen family. “I am a typical Turkmen woman,” she says. “I had everything: home, parents, school, and marriage. Because of my natural aptitude, I chose the profession of law. Since childhood, I could defend myself and I did not let anybody offend my friends.” For many years, Ogul has fought for the protection of workers’ rights. She works for the department of labor rights in the National Trade Union Organization of Turkmenistan. “A real revolution took place in my mind during the conference devoted to women's rights in Tashkent, in 2000. Suddenly, I understood clearly that I am a victim of violence, too. Everything that was said by the women, who had suffered from domestic violence, I had felt and experienced once,” she said. “But both at that time and even now, our country does not recognize these victims of violence, as there is no legal definition or law on domestic violence.” The problem of domestic violence is just as urgent in Turkmenistan as it is in many other countries. “It is difficult to stay indifferent when you know that hundreds of thousands of your fellows experience privation,” she adds. She feels joy when she sees the success of her efforts to spread knowledge, to help relieve the lives of people, especially of women, because it is very hard for women in traditional families. And this joy gives her energy to proceed with her work. Ogul’s working day never ends at 6:00 p.m. Women come not just to her office, but to her home. Sometimes, they even find her without knowing her precise address. They arrive in the region and ask someone where Ogul lives. As she is a well-known public person, people always show others the way to her place.

Hemayat National Center of Trade Unions of Turkmenistan