Mongolien: Tuul Yondon

Mongolian women work hard to overcome obstacles to democracy. We appreciate the international solidarity of women and believe that strengthening these ties is vital for building a civil society.

— Tuul Yondon

Born in 1957, Tuul Yondon followed in her father’s footsteps and, having graduated, chose a career with the army. In 1989 her husband, an army man too, joined the pro-democracy movement in which Tuul was also involved. Her first achievement was setting up the local section of the Liberal Women’s Brain Pool (Leos). She worked on implementing many local projects for women. Tuul was elected to the Baganuur District Khural as a citizens' representative and was nominated to represent Mongolian women at the 1995 Women’s Conference in Beijing.

Tuul Yondon joined the pro-democracy movement early, at a time when many in the country were still cautious about its fate. While still a student, she decided to follow the family tradition of military service and worked with the border troops. She married Bayar, an officer, and spent 20 years in the remote regions of Mongolia. During this time, Tuul learned much that stood her in good stead later when she helped people survive and succeed in the harsh times of transition. In an attempt to help poor families in local areas, Tuul implemented ten training and support projects that improved things for them in Baganuur. Her political career began with volunteering for NGOs. She organized the first local branch of Leos, which now has 200 active members. Tuul says: “The transition to democracy and market economy revealed all the great faults of the socialist system. An uncertain political situation, a failed national economy, faulty State mechanisms and widespread unemployment left women and children without any social care. We, women, felt we had to fight for our lives. Fortunately, NGOs have also become active in this.” Tuul works on large and small projects. In 1997 she secured a small grant to save the lives of 25 dystrophic children suffering from malnutrition. She monitors processes in Baganuur and raises awareness of the possible consequences of any major developments. Baganuur is the site of a large prison and Tuul’s protest helped to reverse the government decision to build a second one there. Tuul now calls for the public attention to the problem of increasing uranium pollution of the environment in conditions of open pit coal mining in Baganuur. Thanks to her efforts to increase women’s political activity, 25 percent of the seats in the Baganuur district Khural of representatives belong to women as do half the administrative positions.

Elected member, Baganuur District Khural Liberal Women’s Brain Pool (Leos)