YEREVAN (Armenpress)–A conference on Gender Issues was held in Yerevan on Tuesday where the developmen’s of and challenges to gender equality in Armenia were discussed at length.
Organized by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the conference, entitled "Gender Issues in Armenia: Developmen’s and Problems," had as its aim to inform society about the current challenges facing the establishment of gender equality in Armenia. The conference also set out to discuss the Government’s ongoing programs for addressing those challenges as well as future programs that can further improve the role of women in society.
During recent years, the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry has taken a number of serious steps toward preventing violence against women and advancing gender equality in the country, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Aghvan Vartanian told participants of the one day conference, entitled,
"The development of humanity cannot go on when the rights of women and their opportunities are restricted," he said, explaining that a favorable environment that encourages women to contribute to the development of Armenia is vital to the country’s future.
But establishing gender equality is not only directed towards the creation of favorable conditions for women, he noted, the elimination of gender discrimination, unequal distribution of resources, and violence against women are all serious impedimen’s to the progress of society.
Violence against women is a serious violation of human rights and is an issue which exists in all the countries and at all levels of society, according to Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, who stressed the need to punish those who commit such crimes against women.
"It is obvious that the economic, and social spheres demand the active participation of women," Vartanian explained. "It is very important to ensure education of women and increase their role in these different spheres."
For the first time in its history, the Government of Armenia has registered gender equality as a priority, he said, adding that the Government’s Program for 2008-2012 has outlined in it a comprehensive strategy for improving the status of women in the country.
According to Vartanian, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is currently working on a series of bills that will create the legislative backbone for women’s rights in Armenia.
Armenian women are currently underrepresented throughout many different spheres in Armenian society, according to Deputy Head of the OSCE Armenian Office Mark Bojanic, who was attending the conference.
As an example, he pointed to the number of women deputies in Armenia’s National Assembly. He also said tha women involved in business management is also low in Armenia.