The Week of Women is hosted every March by the NU Library in partnership with the Consortium of Gender Scholars (GenCon) and in collaboration with NU’s schools and student clubs.
This year, the library launched the #EachforEqual campaign, which aimed to support the diversity, inclusion and achievements of women in various fields.
On the eve of the celebration of International Women’s Day, a number of events during the week were held, the main characters of which were all women – mothers, wives, scientists, public figures.
On March 3rd, the library opened the festivities by hosting a talk by female authors. The women spoke to participants about the history of writing their books, and the path they travelled to publish their works.
Dinara Kusayin is an expert in the field of child safety and family development (Master in Family and Human Development, Master in Mass Communications) and mother of three. She runs the Amansabi Child Safety Project, lectures and provides counselling. The author shared with the guests of the event that this book is a guide for young parents and will be able to bring a little clarity to mum’s life on maternity leave. Using science and humour, the author was able to convey and talk about important aspects of the formation of the family, the safety of the child and family life in general, all of which you can read in the book “Salem, parents”.
Aliya Isenova – a journalist and influencer, who maintains a popular blog on the Internet that Kazakhstani readers like for author’s active life position. Aliya has her own Youtube channel, where she publishes candid interviews with famous personalities. Aliya said that writing a book has been her childhood dream, and she was sure that sooner or later she would publish a collection of short stories called “Lesha”. Aliya also spoke about the process of printing a book, distribution and other technical components of publishing. She also plans to release audio and electronic versions of the book in the future.
Michelle Somerton is a professor at the Graduate School of Education and director of the academic master’s program in inclusive education. She holds a PhD, a master’s degree in research, and a bachelor’s degree in education with honours from the University of Tasmania. Michelle, the author of book chapters, and other academic materials, spoke about the goals and reasons that inspired her to continue her journey and not to give up. The author also shared photos with the audience of different stages in her life that captured the most important moments.
Zeinekhan Kuzekova – professor of the Department of Kazakh language and Turkology. She has a PhD in Kazakh; she graduated from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. Zeinekhan has developed a series of books on the study of the Kazakh language for foreign students, that also have exercises and practical tasks. These materials she developed now serve as the basis for subsequent books and test exercises used by governmental organizations. The author told the story about how it all began when she taught three foreign students who were able to learn the Kazakh language from scratch.
Claire Griffin is a professor at the School of Sciences and Humanities, a historian. She was awarded a PhD at the School of Slavic and Eastern European Studies at University College London. Claire is the author of several book chapters and expects the publication of her own book. She shared her opinion on how women are perceived in the scientific community and what kind of trials they face in terms of publication and science in general. The author briefly explained her motives and interests when writing her upcoming book and enlightened the guests about the main points of the book.
On March 4, a panel discussion took place with outstanding women who reached great heights in various fields. Speakers of the discussion were:
- Sulushash Kerimkulova – Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University. She has almost 40 years of teaching and research experience and more than 20 years of administrative experience in higher educational institutions of Kazakhstan. The professor began her speech with the question of what makes people happy, to which she received various answers. The professor agreed with everyone, and noted that people are happy when they do what they love. Sulushash told about the high points she had held throughout her career, and also discussed the different moments of her life that were turning points and fateful. She was very inspirational for the audience and closed her speech by encouraging everyone to push forward even in the face of difficulties.
Gulnur Kalimuldina – received her PhD in 2017 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan. Research interests: energy collection using a nanogenerator, energy storage (lithium-ion batteries), unmanned aerial vehicle, thermal and interface modeling. Gulnur, a young mother and professor, adapted to cope with all aspects of her life. Being a professor, wife, mother, Gulnur admitted that there are difficult and joyful moments, and gave advice to everyone on the importance of work and home life balance, and gave some tips to help find such a balance.
- Zeken Abrayeva – Chairman of the Housing Association in Nur-Sultan. In 2019, she was awarded an honorary diploma from Altay Kulginov (akim of the city of Nur-Sultan) for her invaluable contribution to the development of the city. In her youth, Zeken dreamed of becoming a builder, and aspired to be an architect. But due to different events and situations, this dream did not come true. Zeken apay worked in factories and various enterprises, reached great heights, was a member of the association of business women and led several institutions at different periods of her life. Zeken apay made everyone happy when she said that her dream of building houses still came true when she moved to Nur-Sultan, and was able to complete the house in which she bought an apartment, since the house was considered problematic and stood idle for years.
- Elaine Sharplin – Professor, Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University. Researcher, supervisor and educator. Professor Elaine began her academic career at the age of 40, changed the continent and was able to raise two wonderful kids. Our hero never gave up, and was able to see the potential in others, helped and supported everyone around.
On March 5, specially for women, a narration session was held on the topic “Life Lessons” prepared by the professor of the Graduate School of Education of the Nazarbayev University Dyshon Shamatov. The professor applied a technique in which guests shared compliments, thus making people kinder and happier. During the session, a story was used that inspired and prompted guests to value people and not miss the opportunity to thank and share love. For children, Professor Shamatov organized instructive performances and conducted therapy to relieve childhood fear, as well as games using various techniques that taught children to love themselves and others.
In addition to offline events, an online flash mob was also held, the goal of which was to reach a larger number of participants in order to combat stereotypes, fight bias, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. In collaboration with a Consortium of Gender Scholars, this flash mob was supported on social networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #EachforEqual.
Also, during the week, a wall of compliments was available in the atrium, everyone could leave a compliment or take one of the compliments for themselves, thus supporting each other.
And finally, on March 6 and 7, a screening of two films took place in the library where everyone was invited two films chosen by the organizers. The organizers chose the films “Kyz Zhybek” and “Manshuk Turaly Dastan”, the main characters of which were women who, despite all the difficulties and upheavals of life, emerged as winners, achieved their goals, and self-actualization.
Also, library staff organized exhibitions of books about women written by women. These exhibitions are available at the reading rooms, on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the library.