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Political parties responsible for ensuring women’s political progress discussion

Discussions on amendments to the law on political parties have started in the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, including problems of political progress. These issues were also addressed by the discussion on “Promoting Women’s Political Participation” held on October 11th at the initiative of the NA Electoral Reform Task Force participated by  Lena Nazaryan, Vice President of the National Assembly, a number of NA deputies, representatives of non-parliamentary forces, NGOs, experts, as well as Deborah Griser, USAID Mission Director in Armenia. By the way, the latter mentioned in his speech that according to studies, societies where women are involved in politics are more successful than others.

 

It should be noted that the discussion was organized with the financial support of USAID, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Oxygen Foundation. This was the second discussion on this topic, the first of which took place earlier, within the framework of the NA-CSO and in a narrower format.

 

I attach great importance to such debates both in the Government and in the National Assembly, which aim at creating legislative mechanisms to ensure women’s involvement. Lena Nazaryan, Vice President of the National Assembly, stated this in her speech.

 

The women’s quota in the Electoral Code should be increased to 40%. Currently, gender representation in the EC should not exceed 70 percent. I suggest that it does not exceed 60%, “said Lena Nazaryan.

 

According to her, statistics on the representation of women in the legislative and executive bodies prove that much remains to be done.

 

Hamazasp Danielyan, coordinator of the electoral reform task force, also shares the view that it is appropriate to discuss raising the quota to 40%. The MP is convinced that women should have the opportunity to engage in politics, and the state, in turn, should encourage this so that their voices can be heard in both state and local government.

 

The issue is not only the involvement of women in political parties, but also the proper representation of women in the governing bodies of parties, said Tamara Hovnatanyan, president of the ProMedia Gender NGO. According to her, raising the issue will also raise the opposition of the parties to raise the same quota and their concern over women leading in the electoral rolls.

 

Taking into account the responsibility of the parties to expand women’s political participation, Oxygen Foundation and ProMedia Gender NGO made the following recommendations:

  • enshrine the requirement of incorporating gender-sensitive principles into the party’s founding documents and internal regulations in the Law on Parties, viewing it as a mandatory precondition for the establishment of intra-party democracy;
  • to include in the law the requirement to ensure the participation of women in party leadership no less than the proportion of women and men in such parties;
  • provide incentive mechanisms in the law, including in the form of additional state subsidies or other privileges, for parties that implement specific policies to increase women’s participation and ensure their advancement;
  • among the state funding criteria given to political parties by the results of the National Assembly and proportional system elections, consider the level of women’s representation, providing additional funding for parties that have secured 40-50% representation of women in their electoral rolls and de-facto elected body.

 

The Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor Office also submitted proposals.

 

– When receiving state funding, the party will receive additional funding at the rate by which the proportion of women exceeds the quota set by the Electoral Code. At the same time, this provision applies at both the NA and local government levels.

 

– Apply sanctions mechanisms for parties that do not take steps to increase women’s participation and ensure their advancement.

 

-The party should have a policy of inclusiveness and representation as a mandatory document.

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