Safety laws and regulations would have helped more than this regressive ban on young women's travel. Kyrgyzstan’s deeply entrenched patriarchal traditions have slowly been invading civil law over the last few years, and this continues it.
See note below for UPDATE.
Kyrgyzstan’s parliament voted overwhelmingly to ban women under age 22 from traveling abroad without the written approval of their parents…Irgal Kadyralieva, a deputy with the Social Democratic Party, proposed the legislation last winter. She argued it would protect young women’s “honor and dignity” by protecting them from sex traffickers and rape. Hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz work abroad, mostly in Russia and Kazakhstan. Many work unskilled jobs for low wages in conditions that can be dangerous. The resolution, as envisioned, would prevent young women from joining the exodus.
Because the resolution is not a formal bill, it is unclear what legal power it wields. For now, it appears to be little more than a recommendation. The full text can be found here.
UPDATE: Though MP Irgal Kadyralieva is still insisting to the press that she wishes to protect the Kyrgyz “gene pool,” it turns out that the final resolution does not limit travel for women based on their age.
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Photo credit: Politicians want parental consent before Young Kyrgyz women can go abroad. Evgeni Zotov / Flickr.com