On November 7, a roundtable discussion on the theme “Women’s Voice and Leadership in Politics: Armenian Perspective” was organized in the RA National Assembly. The event was organized in the framework of the European Union and Council of Europe Partnership for Good Governance Programme, in cooperation with the RA National Assembly and civil society organizations: International Center for Human Development, Armenian Association of Women with University Education and ProMedia-Gender NGOs.
The female MPs of the parliamentary factions, Ambassadors accredited in the RA, representatives of the RA Government, the international and NGOs took part in the discussion.
Welcoming the organizers of the event and the attendees, the RA NA Vice President Arpine Hovhannisyan has noted that the report under debate reflects all the obstacles: stereotype way of thinking, financing difficulties, combining difficulty of the family and political activity, etc. which collides with the woman entering into politics. Noting that there are numerous studies concerning the women’s impact in the politics, the RA NA Vice President has expressed conviction that their involvement promotes the creation of more cooperation environment not only in the parliament, but also on other platforms.
The RA NA Vice President wished effective work to the participants of the event.
The First Deputy Minister of the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development Vache Terteryan, noting that since 1996 the RA authorities observe the indices of the women’s involvement in the local self-government system, has recorded that they are far from the desirable result.
The Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan Loreta Vioiu thanked the European Union for financing this regional project: it gives an opportunity to implement different functions in the Eastern Partnership countries for more than two years. She has added that the regional study reviews the situation of the women’s participation in the politics. Talking about the women’s participation in the political processes in the RA Ms Vioiu has highlighted that the women’s participation in the RA parliament is already 18 percent. “We made great efforts to organise leadership school for the women’s participation and could form courage in the participation in the elections,” she said, expressing hope that the situation would be improved after the enlargement of the communities.
The Head of Political, Press and Information Section, EU Delegation to Armenia Ekaterina Dorodnova has underlined that for improving the electoral processes in Armenia the EU provides assistance, as well as has financed this project. The project funding is more than 1mln euro which proves that the EU consider s the area to be very important. Underlining that the EU member states have high percentage of women's representation in the national parliaments, she has noted that situation has improved compared with the previous years in Armenia.
The “Regional Study on Women’s Political Representation in the Eastern Partnership Countries” was discussed. The Council of Europe gender expert, former member of Bristol City Council in SW, Director, Gender Equality Mainstreaming (GEM) Consultancy, (United Kingdom) Diane Bunyan presented the results of the study carried out in 2015-2016 within the framework of the European Union and Council of Europe Partnership for Good Governance Programme. The study identifies key barriers for the women's political presentation in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. The studies particularly have shown that in those countries women are less nominated to political positions than men. Diane Bunyan has noted that the stereotypes on the women's role in the society are serious obstacles for the women's political representation in the society, which have negative impact for the women's representation in the economy and labour market, reducing the probability of their nomination and winning in the elections.
The Secretary of the RA Central Electoral Commission Armen Smbatyan, the Member of the RA NA Standing Committee on European Integration Shake Isayan and the President of ProMedia-Gender NGO Tamara Hovnatanyan delivered speeches on the theme Gender quotas: a tool for promoting women’s political participation. Touching upon the low index of the women’s participation in the parliamentary and local self-government in our country, the speakers have noted that in that issue mainly impeding factors are: the legislation, the traditions, the level of democracy, the resources and the family status. According to Ms Isayan, it is necessary to carry out relevant programmes, to create gender equality councils, institute on gender issues in the communities, to appoint responsible persons on gender issues in the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development.
Head of R&D Unit, International Center for Human Development Vahan Asatryan, the Executive Secretary of the Armenian Association of Women with University Education Gayane Meroyan, the Councillor of Arpi Community of Shirak region Naira Abrahamyan delivered speeches within the framework of the theme Mechanisms for women’s political empowerment and engagement at local level.
During the debates the participants highlighted the women’s involvement in the economic life of our country, in the electoral and political processes. The attendees evaluated the women’s education and faith to their own forces.
The RA NA deputies Karine Atshemyan, Armenuhi Kyureghyan, Luiza Sargsyan expressed concern on the low level of the women’s employment in the communities.
Summing up the event the RA NA Standing Committee on Foreign Relations Hermine Naghdalyan noted that as a result of debates an agenda was formed for getting ready in the next elections, as well as in terms of the works to be done in different directions. She emphasized the women’s political involvement in the local self-government system.
In the final speech the Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan Loreta Vioiu thanked the participants for comprehensive and effective debates.