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The top ten of the 2018 events, presented by WomenNet.am

WomenNet.am represents the top ten of the 2018 events on women’s rights and empowerment.

 

1) The active participation of young women and women in the “velvet revolution” in Armenia in April-May 2018 was regarded as exclusive. Although there was no political rally in the history of Armenia, with women’s active participation, nevertheless, their participation in the 2018 movement was more visible. It is no coincidence that during the April 20th rally Nikol Pashinyan, referring to women’s participation, said: “In my opinion, the most powerful driving force of this movement is our women, our sisters and our daughters”.

 

2) For the first time in the history of the Third Republic of Armenia in 2018 was elected a woman mayor. After being under the rule of Manvel Grigoryan and his family for many years, the city of Echmiadzin made an exceptional move by choosing a young woman as a mayor. Even though according to political analysts, Diana Gasparyan would not have made such a success if she was not nominated by “My Step” alliance, it is natural that thanks to women’s efforts, the force that has come to power should encourage women to take more active part in government.

 

3) Extraordinary elections of Yerevan Council of Elders were also exceptional in terms of women’s participation. For the first time, three women candidates were nominated for the post of Mayor of Yerevan, and in both cases, these women were the leaders of the alliance and party leaders. Among the common candidates, women’s participation was also high – 36.2%, but in the end, the number of women in the council remained the same as in the previous elections, making only 27.6%, which was largely due to the lack of women in the “My Step”.

 

4) As a result of snap parliamentary elections held on December 9th, 2018, 32 out of 132 members or 24% are women. For comparison, 19 out of 105 members of the National Assembly of the previous convocation were women. The breakthrough has been largely ensured by the fact that twelve female candidates went to parliament through a “rating” system, and only two in the previous elections. Women candidates nominated by territorial lists, due to their active campaign, have broken public opinion that politics are not the place of women. Candidates from the center of the capital to the most remote villages round home made huge changes in public perceptions, the fruits of which would be worn in the future.

 

5) Extraordinary parliamentary elections were also marked by debates with female candidates who came to prove that women in Armenia have long been politicians and can independently and fully represent their party’s position and interests. Special attention was paid to debates on the topic of “Women’s Agenda for Development”, organized by OxYGen Foundation, as well as TV debates between RPA representative Arpine Hovhannisyan and “My step” bloc representative Lena Nazaryan.

 

6) One of the positive changes registered in the life of women last year was the  activity of RA Prime Minister’s Actor Nikol Pashinyan’s wife, Anna Hakobyan who can inspire and encourage many women to participate more actively in social and political life. Almost immediately after the appearance of the “first lady”, she clearly stated that the problems of women and children would be the target of her activity. In addition, Mrs. Hakobyan initiated the “Women for Peace” campaign, which can be a good opportunity for women to participate in a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

 

7) By the end of 2018, the WomenNet.am journalist competition announced the top ten of Armenian female innovators. Thanks to the competition, the public was informed about many women who are introducing innovation in technology, art, sports, education, politics, and the economy. Ten of the top ten selected articles were selected for the competition; the authors of the heroic materials were awarded with encouraging prizes.

 

8) On July 1, 2018, the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the Protection of Domestic Violence and the Restoration of the Family, came into force, which provides for legislative grounds for the prevention of domestic violence. This means that from now on, law enforcement agencies are authorized to apply the tools prescribed by law to intervene in cases of domestic violence. There is still no study on the effectiveness of the law, it needs some time to evaluate it.

 

9) Among the remarkable events that took place last year, we also highlighted the creation and the opening of the FemLibrary. It is a new emerging feminist initiative that aims to create a safe place for self-organization, self-education and resistance. This is an area where academic work is intertwined with feminist activism and art. Fiction will focus on literature on women’s studies and movements.

 

10) From the standpoint of expanding women’s rights and opportunities in Armenia, an important event took place at the end of the year, December 27-28. A workshop titled “Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Women and Men” was organized in Tsaghkadzor within the framework of the “Equal” campaign implemented in collaboration with the OxYGen Foundation and WomenNet.am. Participating in the workshop were the representatives of the Civilization Movement discussed the “Women’s Agenda” issues and their solutions. An agreement was reached between newly elected MPs and civil society representatives on further closer cooperation among these issues. The participants of the workshop expressed their solidarity with the call addressed to the political forces of the RA National Assembly.

 

Arman Gharibyan

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