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 “Nominate your candidacy, you shouldn’t be afraid of not being elected”…

In the run-up to the September 29th local elections, the OxYGen Foundation has launched a series of Equal Marathon events within the framework of the Women in Politics program. The slogans of the initiative are: Equal Participation: A Powerful Community “and” More Women in Local Self-Governments “aim to raise awareness of the importance of equal participation of women and men in community-based solutions to upcoming local elections, as well as to encourage active participation of women in local government decision-making.

 

Artashat community members and women being nominated participated in the event; in her welcome speech Margarita Hakobyan, director of the Oxygen Foundation, urged them not to underestimate their own potential, to be more active in local government elections. She noted that the goal of the program is to further encourage and support women to participate more actively in local elections. If the representation of women in the National Assembly is 24%, which is a serious improvement especially after the revolution, then the representation of women in local self-government elections has been modest – only 9%, and it is decreasing because of the opportunities for women in local self-government elections: they are decreasing.

 

– I want to inspire, encourage women who wish to participate or hesitate to run for office, who are skeptical of their abilities to take part. You not only can but also have to participate, we cannot rely solely on Yerevan. MPs who are in the National Assembly should also be from the provinces, and that is why it is natural to start increasing the number of women in local self-government. Therefore, I am confident and convinced that after this meeting you will become more enthusiastic, active and will run in the upcoming municipal elections, ”said Margarita Hakobyan.

 

Lilit Mirzakhanyan, Acting Secretary-General of the Ararat region, noted in her speech that the development of the state and society is promoted by families where equal conditions are created between women and men, where decisions are made not through singular discussions but through joint discussions between women and men. Such families will definitely be strong.

 

The community council is the same family, it is a group of people who make decisions, here the family is the community, as a result of which there is better management that contributes to the development of the community. I find that women need to get out of their consciousness that they cannot be more than a school principle, that they can do more. I appeal to all women who have ever decided to become a council member or engage in politics, not to hesitate for a second. That requires some knowledge and initiative, and you can be sure that men are counting on women who reach out to realize this or that idea, ”said Lilit Mirzakhanyan.

 

The fact that women in politics are capable of shaping a new political culture is unequivocally convinced by local government expert Armine Mkhitaryan, who argues that the low presence of women in politics is justified by objective and subjective reasons. The subjective reason is the existing stereotypes of men not perceiving women as leaders.

 

– For years, women and men have not made decisions in the public sphere. Male decision makers prevailed. Politics is often said to be a dirty thing, women have no place there, I ask, how should it be cleaned up, and then, why then does a large mass of men try to get in there? After all, we have to change the vicious practice we have. One or two women are unlikely to change. When women are small, they are forced to play by the rules of the game dictated by the majority, “said Mkhitaryan, noting that the local self-government is not as much a politics as an economy, and it is impossible to imagine an economy without women.

 

Anna Hovsepyan, a member of the Burastan community council, is also enthusiastic about the initiatives and results of the work done by experienced council members, who believe that a woman who can overcome many family problems can also tackle large-scale community issues.

 

The Women in Politics program is implemented by the UNDP Armenia and Oxygen Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of the Republic of Armenia with the financial support of the Good Governance Foundation of Great Britain.

 

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