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Women’s empowerment in Armenia: Time to do more and better!

March 8 – International women’s day: a day to commemorate, not to congratulate!

While many countries celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, Armenia kicked off a whole month dedicate to honoring women. It continues through April 7 – the Day of Motherhood and Beauty. Throughout the month, family members, friends and partners shower women with flowers, perfume and other gifts – so much so that the price of flowers significantly increases around this time of year. So, in Armenia Women’s Day is another story because it’s is an opportunity not only to highlight women’s role in society, but also to reflect on challenges to women’s rights, empowering girls and women, to continue the positive effect made by velvet revolution.

When women earn the money for the family, everyone in the family benefits. We also know that when women have an income, everyone wins because women dedicate 90% of the income to health, education, to food security, to the children, to the family, or to the community, so when women have an income, everybody wins. – Michelle Bachelet

Women play important roles in the rural economy; but the absence of complete gender equality has been widely reported in Armenia not only at home, but also in the workplace where women’s prospects of employment and earning are far lower compared to men. Gender inequality is most evident in rural areas, where the prospect of employment is even lower, and women are even more vulnerable due to a lack of access to services that encourage gender equality and provide additional resources to support women at-risk of domestic violence or other forms of abuse.

Many international organizations worked to advocate the gender equality and made a huge effort to implement a solution; Develop Armenia is targeting on 2020 to partnering with different stakeholders that will strengthen the capacity of local civil society organizations (CSOs) to provide services focused on improving gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in rural Armenia. These efforts build many plans and projects work in Armenia that helped at-risk women start their own businesses and secure financial independence, while also working with CSOs to advocate for protections for survivors of gender-based violence. Our organization remains committed to continuing to advocate for policies and systems that support and empower women in Armenia.

Many projects are on the right track and during 2020 many of them will be implemented and we hope that through this small projects the social enterprises will be able to provide a gender-equal and inclusive way of creating jobs and tackling social issues in our region. Our projects will be pivotal to meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development, and building good governance in our communities.

Transforming our societies and our economies is an agenda that requires the participation of all. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are key. Including and empowering women and girls to develop and implement climate solutions is the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do. – Patricia Espinosa

Armenia can make larger strides towards improving their economy, and it is clear they need to involve women at all levels and sectors. It was beneficial to see successful Armenian women in their respective fields having an effect and extending a helping hand to further progress in the nation and proudly we observed the high impact on the women role in recent velvet revolution.
Develop Armenia ready to contribute with any positive and sustainable projects which should provide the framework for action to ensure equal treatment and equal opportunities for rural women in Armenia within our available capacities.
Now is the time to collectively move ahead on strategies and actions to address the challenges that rural women face in Armenia. We must urgently take action to bridge the gaps that rural women face in the pursuit of sustainable development and decent work.
It is time for change and to do more, and do it better.

Photo from Noosh Authentic Armenian Restaurant in Ashnak executed by 100% women rural initiative.

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