Shaken by revolutionary developments in Ukraine and Georgia, Uzbekistan is turning away from the West. Officials increasingly see the democratic ideals espoused by the USA and the European Union as "alien" and destructive for Uzbek society.
Habiba Sarabi, Afghanistan's former women's minister, has outlined the challenge facing her as she prepares to take charge in Bamiyan province - that would make her the country's first female provincial governor.
Prosperous and possessed of a spirited parliament, Kuwait has prided itself on being a standard setter among the Arab monarchies on the Persian Gulf. With respect to women's rights, however, today Kuwait ranks just above Saudi Arabia.