The office of the President of Mongolia, Public Relations & Communications Division


Speech of Tsakhia Elbegdorj, The President of Mongolia on the International Women’s Day

Dear Mothers,
Let me greet you with honor and best wishes. I am glad that the celebration for the distinguished mothers has become such an important event every year and this year’s event is happening at the beginning of a good time, and a good season.
Today, our Parliament House have been filled with mothers’ good energy and I want you to all come and fill it with good energy every year.
Happy Women’s Day to all mothers who become an icon of “Green Goddess”, and all the young ladies all around the country in behalf of all men! On this holiday, our dear beautiful mothers gather to celebrate their happiness. This is the biggest celebration and the most important event. I wish to send my gratitude to the people who organize this event, and B.Munkhtuya, a Parliament member.
Every year a number of events have been organized under the auspices of the President, but this is the most exquisite of all. Let this be continued as it is for all Presidents to come.

This is a great opportunity to discuss about mothers that convened here and the issues they are facing today. Mongolia and people of Mongolia are proud of the mothers that are prominent in our history. They have influenced remarkable decisions and played important roles in composing our great history. Looking back to our history, we can name many dedicated women who fought wearing uniforms and putting up their hairs for gender equality such as Uelun mother, Alungoo, Queen Sorhogton, Manduhai Setsen. Nowadays, we know a lady like S. Yanjmaa, D.Munkhuu and many other women who devoted their activities towards women rights and wellbeing of women. The lady named G.Baasan has organized protests getting the government’s attention to elder mothers that ended up with government resolutions. J.Zanaa is fighting for many years for gender discrimination. The ladies like Undarya and Enkhjargal worked toward protecting women and girls who are under threat of violence for many years. We should talk about these ladies and support the issues they are raising.

These ladies are able to preserve remarkable traditions of the outstanding ladies in our history. Mongolian state should listen to their mothers and resolve the issues they face to have a common interest with them. We have tried and continue to support them.

Mongolia is a country that respects human rights.
The State should pay special attention to above mentioned violence issues. Some women are susceptible to violence. We should openly discuss this issue, create necessary legal environment and take care of the financial issues. Battered women that came to a center against violence should stay in a center for 30 days and have some psychological treatment instead of staying there for 1-2 days. Enlighten those who commit violence and take necessary measures if needed and to work to protect their rights with full potential. Mongolia is a country that respects human rights. We should prioritize protecting rights of the women under threat of violence.
There are many painstaking details that only women can discus among them. So those who record violent cases should be women not men. Women cannot discuss all complicated problems with men. There was a case when one man who was in charge of keeping records of violent cases did not forward the letter of complaints given by a woman. In some countries it is granted by law that those who handle these cases should be women instead of men. The countries that understand and respect human rights have granted these issues by law. I am here today to discuss these issues with you.
This issue should be given attention by the President and by other authorities in charge. In some, governors and state employees should pay an attention to this issue.

Having more children should not become a burden for mothers.
My latest concern is young women’s social issue. There are restricted on employment that they force young women to sign a contract that says not to have babies in 3 or 5 years, and that is considered to be gender discrimination. Young women should not be restricted to have babies at their thriving, healthy and childbearing ages. This employment policy should be strictly prohibited by the law. Instead, we should encourage young women of childbearing ages 19-40. Nowadays, pregnant women get maternity allowance for 2 to 3 months only and get an unpaid leave of absences after that. In other countries, there is an specified section in the employment contract that allows women to feed and take care of their child while working in shortened time. Their work can be done from home, through the internet and paid in full with their work results, but not with the time spent in their workplace. Also, pregnant students should be allowed to continue their studies.
I was married to my wife in our student years and because of these unsolved problems, we could not have as many children as we wanted. So other couples might have refused to have many children. We must not allow the future generation to have this tragedy. My proposition to the law, which is currently in Parliament discussion, is allow mothers to have child care for 2 years and to get an allowance of 100 thousand tugrik each month.
I support the proposal of Munkhtuya, a Parliament member, in which the State must pay social security for the women during their time off. We should free the companies from taxes, which allowing women to have maternity pay in full while taking care of their children. In those circumstances, many companies will hire more women and they will get a tax deduction for the maternity pay they paid.

It should not be a burden for mothers to have more children. Today, it is a burden. So, the State should solve this problem for mothers. We, Mongolians, should increase our population. We must carry on this policy. We have a policy called, ”Safety of population and genetics fund”, but has not implemented well. Now, it is the time to support human based policies. Now that the election is just around the corner, every Parliament member’s smiling face is popping up everywhere that you will have a chance to demand them to solve these issues.

A new project, “100 nursery schools in each year”.
Infrastructure development is important to have many children. How hard is it to find a nursery school for the children? There was a period that birth rate fell to 40 thousand, but now it is increasing up to 70 thousand. But the number of nursery schools is far behind. In average, 80 thousand children are not able to get in nursery schools. Approximately, each nursery school has 75 children, so then we need to have a thousand of schools. And that is why we announced these 100 nursery schools in each year project. They say we have a lot of money, so this should be invested in to this. This project must be implemented this year on and all political parties should support it. Not only Ulaanbaatar is lack of nursery schools, but even Aimag and some centers here in Mongolia.

Aside from schools, children’s hospitals, women’s clinics and pediatrics are lacking. Mothers, the President and everyone should demand these. We know more hotels are built than maternity homes. Political Party building, prisons and hotels are built faster than maternity homes. There is already a set up fund for the construction of maternity hospitals in Ulaanbaatar and other two Aimags, but land permission kept it not started. Probably mothers will be disappointed if their sons are responsible for this issue.
We must focus on training of gynecologists and pediatricians to provide mothers with assistance they need. Our mothers say, “We have babies and we keep working”. It is required to assist mothers to have babies, to get child care services and to be able to work at the same time. We have to develop infrastructure instead of solely concentrating on mining sector. It is the time to promote objectives of providing wellbeing for women, mothers and children.
Only mothers suffer a lot by having a child. They lose their jobs, schools or get demoted. Today, a supervisor’s mind works like this, “Well, this woman got a maternity leave, so I’d better find a man on her position”, we need to change this kind of attitude. The State policy must create the environment on work places, which is friendly for women.
Every Governor and business Entrepreneur should support women and even though the law has not enacted yet, they should initiate a special contract, which is tailored for mothers and young women’s needs.
Today, we have to improve the condition of our women having babies. This cannot be left unchanged in modern Mongolia, a democratic country with respects human rights in the 21st century of civilized society.
This talk is not only about women, but also about our society. This is not an issue that only concerning women of childbearing age or mothers with children, but even the prosperity of our country. Thus, these subjects that we are discussing today should be taken seriously by the State and put into an action from now on.
The society where women face hardships cannot be accepted as a whole and favorable, and to build a healthy society we must resolve these issues first. When we recognize the roots of adversity as well as happiness, then we will be able to solve the problem right way.
The reason why I am discussing these issues with you is to emphasize the natural instinct and ability women born with, and we all know it. Mothers feed their children before they prepare dinner for their husbands, and then themselves. But fathers cook for themselves first without noticing their children being hungry and only realize when they cry.
Women take care of the needy first, because they were born with this instinct of seeing as a whole and they can feel the sickness and suffering. We all know what our mothers do when they get money. First they buy food for their children, then buy necessities for home, and forget about their own needs. This shows that women can see the unseen by men and feel the unfelt that men missed if we have women participated in problem solving stages.
For example, let’s imagine we are all in a horseback riding journey. For men, they could keep going without interruption unless he falls, but for women, nature demands its course, she needs to take a break to give a birth to her offspring. They are required to stay home, to go to maternity houses, and while they’re nursing their babies or raising their children they can see life from various angles. But as per men, they still keep riding on, only seeing the point where they intend to reach and they don’t have the chance to see everything at once.
While staying home, mothers look after everyone. They contemplate about their achievements and failures, and their objectives to fulfill their dreams. Women have this fine-tuned insight and it has been called “queen wit”, which has to be inspired and enriched. Queen wit is handed down from generation to generation, thanks to natural instinct of ‘mothers’ wit”. Since they naturally see the life as a whole, they feel sympathy for any elderly as their own parents or worry about their sons and daughters about their clothes and needs.
Such a natural instinct makes women caring, selfless and responsible for others and for the whole society as well, therefore we need to increase women’s participation in local and State organizations.
Women are capable of bearing responsibilities.
Where does the responsibility begin? It begins when everyone fulfills one’s duty. Women can prove that, since they take care of the household and plan their family’s budget well. They can even carry out public or government duties.
I strongly believe that any woman who is taking good care of the household can be elected as a president and you should be proud of yourselves. I will be happy if there is a woman elected for presidency someday. We ought to see this way. When I have a difficult time, I come to my mother first and we think of the best way to solve it. Today, we do not have a very satisfying life, and there are so many things that need to be seen as a whole and be solved with women’s participations.
Nowadays, Mongolian women do all types of jobs. I, as The President and The Chief of Commanders’, am being presented a Mongolian Military parade that could show rows of women officers. Military service was considered to be mandatory among males before, but now, a large number of women are serving their perspective democratic countries and they even participate in peacekeeping activities internationally as their fellow men.
Our women today are serving the country to grant peaceful life for us, defending our country’s sovereignty as well their own families. According to the survey taken from the World Economy Forum on Women’s Involvement, Mongolia has been concluded as an Abnormal. Why is that? It is because most sectors in Mongolia like education and health have women participation. Women are more academically and intellectually advanced.
We must support women who are in making decision stage.
Mongolia leads the World Economic Forum with that women’s participation in social and economical sectors, but we are at the bottom in political sectors. Think about it, we have only 3 women out of 76 male members of the Parliament and that is only 5%.
Also, imagine that 95 households out of 100 do not have women and only men comprise those families. There would not be any family lineage to be continued and all household chores would be chaos. Our country is in a similar situation. We have to change this, and support women to participate in State and political activities. It can’t be seen as offering positions to women; instead we need to use their insights for the State policy. Countries which support their women have more stable and peaceful society.
In some countries more than 50% of the Parliament members are women, and those countries are highly developed with their social issues resolved. Not long ago, the President of Finland came to visit and it was a woman as well as the President of India. That proves women can be leaders of a country. The countries where women are supported in political arena have fewer problems in solving social issues. In Mongolia, 5% of the Parliament seats belong to women and it means supplies of facilities for under-school- aged children are only 5%. If women’s participation in the Parliament is 20 or 30 % , then those children will have 500 more facilities.
The Parliament members make decisions like, “We got more profit from cashmere to fund those goats”. That money can be distributed to the children’s facilities. Now the mining sectors are more profitable, so they pay more attention to that than any other sectors. If there were 20 mothers in the Parliament, those social issues would have been already solved.
Generally, mothers tend to take care of their sons more and fathers care more about their daughters. So we should not forget our mothers after becoming the Parliament members. We must focus on women’s issues. Male Parliament members often come to wrong decisions. It is like fathers might be cooking fried meat for infants with only two teeth, or offering whole boiled meat to elders with no teeth at all. But women can feed their children or their elders with the right food. That is why we should support our women for the Parliament.
There was a problem lately. At the beginning of 90’s, a lot of women with four children got retired at the age of 35, and today, 50% of retired seniors have been living under the lowest living standard. In other words, 50% of retirees are in pension poverty. It has been like this for 20 years, now it is the time to change it. We must correct those kinds of mistakes.
I talked to Gandi, a Parliament member, about this issue many times, and drafted a change in the law. This is the good news. I am planning to solve these pension issues of retirees, who could not get proper pension plan. The Parliament should approve the bill immediately. By this law get in effect, we will help many mothers in hardships. If 20% of the parliament seats had been taken by women at that time, there would not have been such wrong decisions. For this reason, we must support women in decision making.
Mother’s word for justice is heard more powerfully.
Those, who stand firmly for justice, are women. Recently, one foreigner at the Convention of Mongolian Economy said, “Women work more honestly”. Indeed, women are more conscientious and they do not take bribery. Today, Mongolia has been badly corrupted. Women, who could keep their homes clean, can clean our State. I believe that if they can carry their households, they definitely can carry our Nation.
In real life, as soon as mothers come in and say why dinner hadn’t been ready or house hadn’t been cleaned up or homework hadn’t been done, the whole house shuffles and comes into the order. With their voice, everything gets in order. Now, Mongolia needs that kind of voice. The voice that can say, “Mongolia has been corrupted, “Mongolia has been filled with garbage”, Mongolian environment has been destroyed”, and “the State policy with their persuasion”. This is a very important issue.
Let’s become sober Mongolians.
I am always grateful to our mothers. They always support our initiatives like to become sober Mongolians, to become an alcoholic-free nation. Now, there are many families who celebrate Tsagaan Sar without alcohol. I am very pleased with it. In any holidays, we have only milk, dairy products and aarts. I think that is a very pleasant way to celebrate a holiday. We wish there be more people to celebrate holidays without alcohol.
We wish there be more non-alcoholic people than alcoholics. More and more sober people unite their voice for better Mongolia. For this objective our mother’s voice is vital. I wish being non-alcoholic and having a healthy mind will solve the problems such as corruption, social justice, and environmental protection of our country.
Let’s clean Mongolia together.
Recently I proposed to deal with drug addiction. This is a huge problem and our main concern. Drug dealing and drug addictions are becoming grave situations and approximately 1 out of 4 children or 2-4 out of 8 children of every family is involved in this tangle. Narcotics are 60 times more poisonous and 60 times deadlier than alcohol. Fortunately, 5 out of 100 drug addicts can be cured today. Whoever is addicted to narcotics has no future. Some ends up in prison and some dies. Who can save our children from this plague and make our Nation free of narcotics? Our mothers can do this. They can save their children and they will be our close partners to make advances for the better future.
Let’s improve our country, let’s clean our Mongolia, all mothers!
Happy Holiday to all mothers and have a good celebration! Thank you all!