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“Stereotypes should be broken intentionally by patience and intelligence”

Post-election talk with MP Ani Samsonyan


Interview of WomenNet.am with  a member of the National Assembly’s “Bright Armenia” faction MP Ani Samsonyan, who had been active in the Yerevan Council of Elders before being elected to the parliament.


– How was your transition from the Council of Elders to the National Assembly?


– The Yerevan Council of Elders is also a political body, and the logic in terms of work and decision-making is the same, though the work in the council is limited to a very limited local scale and more focused on the city’s livelihood issues. The main difference is that the work of the council member is of a more voluntary nature, although I would say that the scope of the work we started in 2017 with the EAL alliance was not voluntary because we worked in a daily routine, with a full schedule and very dedicated. The transition to the National Assembly has only increased the scope of responsibility for which I was actually ready …


– How does the society admit women’s entry into politics? Have you experienced any discrimination against you in the elections?


– It might seem surprising, but I have never been discriminated against. I’ve always been able to get my seat and get it fixed. There are two explanations for this. The first is my self-confidence. I never lose it, at the same time being a very self-critical and striving for perfection. Second, that is the environment where you are educated politically. For me, this environment is “Bright Armenia,” where I have been living politically. I am convinced that women can take part in politics only in parties where there are all the prerequisites, knowledge base, favorable environment for it.


– What is the guarantee of success of a female politician and how important is the role of the family in entering politics?


– The key to women’s success is to crush stereotypes, destroy walls, neutralize all obstacles on their way to their own goal … Although each one has her own formula. The family plays a major role in this because a woman is encouraged by her , especially her husband, if he accepts that his wife can be caring not only to the family, but also to the society and the state …. It’s complicated, and not everyone knows such perception …


– Do you see progress in overcoming stereotypes ?….


– We have progress, but very slowly and still in Yerevan. The situation in the regions is the same. Stereotypes need to break the mind, display patience and intelligence in order not to create sharp reactions. For example, if you want to create a new culture, you do not have to do it in the way of humiliating, discrediting or publicizing the old one. It is not effective. With that, you will only gain opponents, including your family, and maybe you will not find anyone supporting you …


– In your opinion, is the voice of women in the new NA heard …?


– Women are very active in the National Assembly and it is welcomed. As far as I know, no woman has complained that her voice is inaccessible …


– You see in the near future such developments that will lead to the increase of women’s role in the decision-making circles.


– Yes, I see. I think many of today’s politicians will be able to see more responsible positions. You just have to be educated and aspire to it…


– Recently, there is also a need for quotas in the executive body, given the fact that we have only one female minister. Do you agree with that idea?


– Quotas as a legal regulation, of course, are prominent, but it should not be artificial, that is, you are in your own place only because you are a woman. Believe it, it further harms women’s political participation. Compare with the National Assembly. In the same National Assembly, casual women may appear due to quotas, which may have been unable to engage in politics. It is not ruled out that these women can gain more interest, stir in, but it may be vise verse as well. In the case of the executive, such a situation is inadmissible, because there is a clear framework of responsibility, every field needs proficiency and professionalism. In my opinion, the natural movement in the executive is more acceptable if favorable conditions are created for women’s motivation and advancement.

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