This article explores how Kurmanzhan Datka and other female heroes fit into the heavily male-dominated narrative traditionally promoted by Kyrgyz nation-builders. From a reading of state-approved secondary school history textbooks, the article traces the construction of female heroes and discusses how this construction contributes to the gender dimension of Kyrgyz nation-building: What values do these female symbols appear to represent? Which roles have they been assigned in the process of Kyrgyz nation-building? And what consequences may this have for the reproduction of hegemonic gender conceptions?