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“There is no argument that justifies women’s lower participation in local self-governance bodies”

 The official launch of the Women in Politics program was held in Yerevan which will be implemented  within 2.5 years in partnership with the UN Development Program and the OxYGen Foundation, in partnership with the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development and funded by the UK Good Governance Fund.

 

Yesterday was the first public event of the initiative, during which the program goals and expected results were presented. The goal of the project is to strengthen the role of women in society and at the decision-making level, as well as promote the involvement of young people in local governance and development processes, based on already existing capacities and enhancing the positive experiences gained over the past few years. As a result of the project, a broad network of women and young people will be created, which will be ready and able to contribute to community and national development.

 

Representatives from the Government, the RA National Assembly, diplomatic missions, international and public organizations, as well as experts, women leaders and community members, young leaders took part in the presentation.

 

Judith Farnworth

British Ambassador to Armenia

“Equality between women and men is a priority in the world”

 

I was looking forward to the launch of this initiative. Equality between women and men is a priority not only in Armenia, but also in the UK and around the world. This problem is observed  in different spheres, there is a difference between remuneration for women and men, women are less represented in high positions, although in the UK this issue seems to have been resolved today. I am convinced that women’s empowerment can ensure the country’s sustainable development and economic development.

 

Vache Terteryan,

First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Development of RA

“There is no argument that will justify women’s lower participation”

 

“Today we have more than 300 women council members in Armenia, but this is a small number, and I believe that their involvement with this program will increase in the local government system. Today, we are in the process of local government reform and women’s participation is a priority. The starting point for all of these processes is that there is activity on the ground. I am convinced that the representation that women have at the LSG level is not only important for the council and community leaders, but also at other levels, as most women are involved in important social issues.

 

Dmitry Mariyasin,

UN Resident Coordinator / UNDP Resident Representative

“It will be difficult because the program has outrageous ambitious targets”

 

“The launch of the project was awaited, but we also realize that it will be difficult because the program has outlined very ambitious targets. But it does not scare us because we have already implemented many programs in Armenia. Armenia is still on the path to transition to gender equality, there is, of course, a point of improvement. The Electoral Code has been working on a quota for years, but the problem is that when we talk about gender quotas, it is clear that it does not need men but only women. And I hope we will soon be in a world where gender equality has ensured in all areas.

 

Margarita Hakobyan

Executive Director of OxYGen Foundation

“Women’s representation at local level is alarmingly low”

 

“It is only through joint efforts that women’s political participation in Armenia can be realized and promoted. There are many obstacles that hinder it, but the public awareness and the efforts made by the civil society are very important in that direction. Though after the revolution a lot has changed in Armenia, nevertheless today we have quite low indices in terms of women’s involvement in politics. Yes, we have tangible results in the NA, the number of female MPs has increased, but we cannot say the same about the composition of the government where we have only one female minister.

 

Natalya Harutyunyan,

UNDP Women’s Empowerment Project Manager

“Our goal is to strengthen women”

 

“The title of the program,” Women in Politics, “is already saying everything. In this area, we are not the first to engage in activities, but we have come to realize that working at the local level is not enough. We must work so actively that we have a different picture in the next election and I’m convinced that we will achieve it. Yes, the representation of women has increased in the National Assembly, but we do not have enough growth in the local self-governing bodies; women are still unable to fully utilize their potential. This is the goal of our program, to empower women, to increase their representation in political institutions, to work with young people, to encourage them. We want to reach a more inclusive, more sensitive local self-governance system to build a model that will maximize suggestions and opinions from the bottom.

 

Christine Hovhannisyan

OxYGen Foundation Projects Manager

“We also see positive shifts in public perceptions as a guarantee of success”

 

“We will complete the program in 2021 and in the next two years we expect national and local policies to become more favorable for women’s participation, especially in communities. By the way, one of the program’s success indicators is that almost 30 percent of the proposals made with our partners are accepted by the Government of Armenia. In order to achieve this, we must create a serious evidence base on political gaps. The scope of the project will be extensively scaled, consisting of a few components. In addition, the assessment of gender sensitivity of political parties will also be made. As a guarantee of success, we also consider positive changes in public perceptions. ”

 

The second part of the event focused on women’s political participation in Armenia, opportunities and challenges for promoting women and youth.

 

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