Azerbaijan Table of Contents
Although religious practice in Azerbaijan is less restrictive of women's activities than in most of the other Muslim countries, vestiges of the traditional female role remain. Particularly in rural communities, women who appear in public unaccompanied, smoke in public, drive automobiles, or visit certain theaters and restaurants are subject to disapproval. Nevertheless, the majority of Azerbaijani women have jobs outside the home, and a few have attained leadership positions. In July 1993, Aliyev appointed surgeon Lala-Shovket Gajiyeva as his state secretary (a position equivalent at that time to vice president), largely because of her outspoken views on Azerbaijani political problems. Gajiyeva was a champion of women's rights and in late 1993 founded a political party critical of Aliyev's policies. In January 1994, she was moved from state secretary to permanent representative to the UN, presumably because of her controversial positions.
Data as of March 1994