Apart from fulfilling their professional duties and taking care of their husbands and children, women in Uzbekistan have a seasonal “side job”. And not because they are volunteers (though their signed statements would say otherwise) or because it brings them extra money, but because they are scared to lose a job that actually puts bread on the table. Women are threatened with dismissal and withholding their wages if they refuse to do this seasonal “job”.

Furthermore, those who receive state childcare support are threatened with having it reduced. Women are forced to clean the streets, work on the fields weeding and collecting cotton in summer and in autumn, construct hospitals and clean houses in winter. Ironically, presidential visits to the regions tend to worsen the situation since women have to work without a single day off, planting trees and cleaning the sides of the roads. Among them are predominantly public sector employees such as nurses, school and college teachers. While monitoring the living conditions of field workers last autumn, human rights activists came across unattended children whose mothers had fallen ill in desperate conditions.