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December 16, 2009

ACNIS Holds Roundtable Discussion on Gender Equality and the State of Women’s Rights in Armenia

Yerevan—The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) convened a roundtable discussion today examining gender equality and the state of women’s rights in Armenia.

After welcoming the participants, ACNIS Director Richard Giragosian presented a brief overview of the issues, noting that “for most countries, the issues of gender equality and the state of women’s rights serve as key indicators of the overall development of society and the state of democracy.”  Giragosian added that “in the case of Armenia as well, the conditions of the female population, including the opportunities for Armenian women in the workplace, the educational system and in politics, present revealing insight into the real conditions of today’s Armenia.”

The ACNIS Director explained that today’s event on gender equality and women’s rights was the opening event in a larger ACNIS “Gender Project,” aimed at “advocating greater rights and opportunities for women in Armenia.”  He then added that ACNIS “seeks to raise awareness of the plight of women and the need to combat domestic abuse and violence targeting women.”

Following Giragosian’s opening, the first speaker was Ms. Jina Sargizova, the Project Coordinator for the UNFPA Programme on Gender-Based Violence, who provided a detailed presentation of UN activities in this sphere.  Sargizova noted several significant problems, including the lack of awareness, the absence of effective legislation and inadequate institutional capacity in Armenia to address the issue.

The next speaker was Tsovinar Harutyunyan, the Senior Democratization Assistant for the OSCE Office in Yerevan, then presented an overview of OSCE efforts in this area and stressed the potential of women as a resource that is not being fully utilized.

A prominent attorney in Armenia, Tiruhy Nazaretyan, then addressed the issue of women’s rights in the workplace and highlighted the fact that for the same job, women are most often paid less than men performing the same work.

The least speaker was ACNIS Analyst Armine Ghazaryan, who focused on the role of women in Armenian politics.  According to Ghazaryan, “women often feel themselves at a disadvantage in comparison with men because their life is based on the economic, political, psychological and social dependence on men.”  She added that “the objective and subjective approaches regarding the role of women in politics were related to the existence of stereotypes in society.”  She went on to say that “the approach regarding the political electoral contest and the general issue should be changed but must not try to equalize man and woman, as we will have real results and effective activity if a woman, with her female privileges, does not emulate man but expresses herself with her own position and role.”

The presentations were then followed by a series of questions and answers, and featured a lively exchange among several leading Armenian analysts, experts and journalists.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) is a leading independent strategic research center located in Yerevan, Armenia.  As an independent, objective institution committed to conducting professional policy research and analysis, ACNIS strives to raise the level of public debate and seeks to broaden public engagement in the public policy process, as well as fostering greater and more inclusive public knowledge. Founded in 1994, ACNIS is the institutional initiative of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Over the past fifteen years, ACNIS has acquired a prominent reputation as a primary source of professional independent research and analysis covering a wide range of national and international policy issues.

For further information on the Center call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; email root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am; or visit www.acnis.am.

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