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Margarita Hakobyan: “Gender equality starts at the National Assembly”/ video

– Gender equality starts from the women’s representation in the National Assembly since this is where all laws relating to equality of women are drafted. And if women’s equality is violated in the National Assembly, then there is no use in talking about other institutions,  –  said Margarita Hakobyan, Oxfam Director in Armenia in her opening remarks at the discussion on women’s participation in the parliamentary elections. The discussion was held in the National Press Club on 19 June 2012. It was organized by Oxfam, “Caucasus” Research Center and the Civil Society Partnership Network.

The choice to reflect on the topic of women’s participation is not at all accidental for Oxfam. During its 18 years of presence in the sectors of agriculture, healthcare and others Oxfam has placed a special accent on the protection of women’s rights and maintaining of gender equality in all its development programs. Staying highly committed to its mission of fighting against poverty, inequality and social injustice, Oxfam develops and implements programs in such a way that women play a greater role in the taking of decisions that affect them.

As Margarita Hakobyan, Oxfam Director in Armenia said, – women are in the heart of our programs; women’s equality is a core component in our programs and is integrated into all priorities we follow both in social, economic and civic rights related projects.

Putting strong emphasis on the role of participatory democracy in the country’s development Oxfam has always thoroughly followed local elections processes, and nowadays observing women’s larger representation in the parliamentary elections is an imperative of time. This goal was guiding all activities initiated and implemented by the Civil Society Partnership Network (CSPN) uniting around 30 non-governmental organizations which are Oxfam partners. CSPN member organizations undertook a number of important activities in the pre-elections period. Lilit Chitchyan, CSPN Coordinator presented these activities in detail.

–          Two of CSPN members conducted an interesting educational/training campaign in the regions of Shirak, Vayots Dzor and Syunik. Within the campaign Oxfam partners trained the community population on important provisions of the electoral procedures, organized meetings with participation of local MP candidates and presented them with pledges based on programme priorities identified in the areas of agriculture and healthcare, – said Lilit Chitchyan, also highlighting that CSPN will be consistent in having these priorities raised in the first session of the newly elected National Assembly (NA).

“CSPN will monitor the presentation, promotion and possible solution of those programmatic pledges starting from the first NA session,” – she added.

The flash mob entitled “My vote is power” has been another CSPN initiative implemented in partnership with Armenian Young Women’s Association.

“Young women and girls – participants of the flash mob walked along the streets and emphasized the importance of the right to vote. They demonstrated the passers-by that every person’s right to vote is important and valued and needs to be implemented.

She also mentioned that CSPN in partnership with “Caucasus” Sociological Research Centre and “Pro-Media Gender” NGO organized and held both electronic and letter e-petition and posted an appeal to all political parties on their websites.

“In the appeal we presented important statistical data on women’s representation in the electoral lists of the political parties and appealed to the parties to maintain the initially defined proportion in the NA after the elections. The “Caucasus” Sociological Research Centre produced and aired social ads on radio and TV calling for women candidates to stand for their rights and not to give up their seats in the NA after the elections, – said Lilit Chitchyan.

Margarita Hakobyan presented the future activities of Oxfam and “Caucasus” Sociological Research Centre joint cooperation and noted that the final comprehensive gender analysis and expert research on 06 May 2012 parliamentary elections will be launched in September 2012 by the Centre.


To note, experts of “Caucasus” Sociological Research Centre, a number of NGOs partnering with Oxfam, women politicians and media representatives participated at the discussion. The discussion evolved around the peculiarities of campaigns led by women candidates and their cooperation with mass media. The representation of women in the National Assembly was assessed by the speakers as not satisfactory for Armenia.


Lilit Kochinyan


 Read about this discussion in detail in our website:



Lilit Galstyan: “A competitive, educated woman is not able “to play” by the rules of the political game in Armenia”


Larisa Alaverdyan: “The country will face changes by women’s active entrance into politics …”


Armenian women in political parties and NGOs


Why do women avoid political struggle?



By the way:


Oxfam ranks the 3rd in the top 100 best nongovernmental organizations of the world


Oxfam is a charity organization established during the years of the Second World War, which through years has grown into a global movement for change. Oxfam enables individuals, communities and organizations to build a future without poverty.


“We are confident that poverty is not a completed fact, but a vital injustice, which is possible to overcome” – this is the slogan Oxfam adopts in 90 countries worldwide. Oxfam set up its office in Armenia in 1994 and soon made a quick transition from humanitarian into development programs.


The Oxfam programs in Armenia on sustainable livelihoods and support to small businesses significantly contribute to poverty reduction in country, which has become particularly topical after the consequences of the world financial crisis.


By the way, in January 2012 Global Journal ranked Oxfam the 3rd in the top 100 best nongovernmental organizations of the world.



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