OUR FOCUS

Gender Equality & Women's Empowerment

 

Measurement

According to Human Development Indices and Indicators[1], Armenia’s HDI value for 2017 is 0.755— which put the country in the high human development category—positioning it at 83 out of 189 countries and territories. Between 1990 and 2017, Armenia’s HDI value increased from 0.631 to 0.755, an increase of 19.7 percent. Through the years, several indices have developed to quantify the concept of gender inequality.

UNDP uses the Gender Inequality Index (GII) and Gender Development Index (GDI), according to which out of 164 countries, Armenia’s rank for 2017 is as follows[2]:

 

Life expectancy  at birth

Expected years of schooling

Mean years of schooling

GNI per capita

HDI values

F-M ratio

 

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

GDI value

Armenia

77.8

71.4

13.4

12.6

11.7

11.7

6,358

12,281

0.740

0.764

0.969

Europe& Central Asia

77.0

69.7

13.9

14.2

9.9

10.6

10,413

20,529

0.751

0.785

0.956

High HDI

78.2

74.0

14.3

13.9

8.0

8.6

10,945

18,948

0.740

0.773

0.957

As to the GII, Armenia occupies the 55th position out of 160 countries in the 2017 index. Moreover, the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) of the World Economic Forum, which examines the gap between men and women in economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment[3], attributes the highest indicators per category to the educational attainment, (35th out of 149)  while the lowest  lay with women’s political empowerment (115th) and health and survival (148th).

At the same time, the principle of equality between sexes is secured at the highest legislative level in the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia and is further reflected in the national legislation. The Government of Armenia has been taking certain steps to harmonize national policies with the gender equality principles, commitments undertaken by international instruments to which Armenia is a signatory, as well as with international requirements in the field. One significant step towards gender policy implementation was adoption of the Law of the Republic of Armenia on ensuring women and men equal rights and equal opportunities (2013)[4]. At present, the Government of Armenia is in the process of preparation of the Gender Action Plan for subsequent years.

Since 2018-2019, the RA Government has commenced a reinforcement and establishment of a series of mechanisms aimed at ensuring gender equality, such as reform of the Council on Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men, reestablishment of the Gender Thematic Group, formation of the Council on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (2018).

However, with all the on-going efforts evidence and data from studies and relevant indices  testify that there are a number of limitations en route of women empowerment and gender equality, such as: widespread negative gender stereotypes and traditional practices harmful to women (e.g. gender-based violence, sex- selective abortions, low labor force participation), which are still prevalent in the society[5]. Overall, it is safe to suggest that de jure equality has not yet led to de facto equality and women are still at a considerable disadvantage compared to men in most spheres of life.

The figures support this assumption. In particular, 37.8 percent of young women aged 15-24 are not in education, employment or training, compared to 35.4 percent of young men in the same age group (International, Labour Organization, 2016 report).  As of August 2019, in average, women hold 19 percent of management level jobs (minsters, deputy ministers, governors and deputy governors) in the Armenian public administration sector, whereas at administrative levels they occupy the majority of positions (54 percent as of 2016). Furthermore, only 24[6]percent of members of Parliament and only 9.5[7] percent of local elected office are women.

Gender inequality is most evident in rural areas, where the prospect of employment is even lower. Women living in rural areas are even more vulnerable due to the lack of access to services, including those that provide support to women at risk of domestic violence or other forms of abuse, as well as those that offer effective remedies to survivors.

In such circumstances, the role of international organizations with the strong track record of addressing issues of gender equality and women empowerment can hardly be overestimated. Working closely with the Government of Armenia, civil society and other international organizations, UNDP in Armenia implements gender-responsive and transformative solutions for women’s leadership, economic development, and their representation and participation in decision-making at local and national levels.

[1] Human Development Indices and Indicators: 2018 Statistical Update. Briefing note for countries on the 2018 Statistical Update. Armenia http://hdr.undp.org/sites/all/themes/hdr_theme/country-notes/ARM.pdf

[2] http://hdr.undp.org/sites/all/themes/hdr_theme/country-notes/ARM.pdf

[3] World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report 2018. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_

[4] In the last five years, along with the legislative reforms, Programs aimed at strengthening the gender policy were carried out. Specifically, the 2011-2015 Strategic Program on Gender Policy and the 2011-2015 National Program on Fighting against Gender-Based Violence were of utmost significance for the RA Government. The Decree N197-L of the Government (February 28, 2019) adopted the 2019-2021 National Action Plan for the implementation of UN SC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

[5] Men and Gender equality in Armenia. Report on sociological survey findings. UNFPA, Yerevan, 2016, p.14

[6] 25 percent gender neutral quota is in place for National Assembly Election and local elections in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor cities.

[7] Community councilors.

Berd Berry

Gender Equality and Inclusive Growth

UNDP in Armenia works to advance women’s participation in the labour market and their access to economic opportunities through multiple initiatives that promote inclusive growth and equal rights and opportunities for men and women.

Socio-economic projects have been implemented in seven regions of Armenia – Tavush, Shirak, Lori, Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Kotayk and Syunik – in areas such as wine production, greenhouse farming and agriculture. These projects supported the creation of full-time jobs and alternative incomes for 416 individuals, 35 percent of whom were women.

In the Berd community in the region of Tavush, 32 women were supported to establish the Berd Women Resource Center Foundation. Among other activities, the center focuses on establishing alternative income-generating schemes for women, particularly agribusiness and green jobs.

Gender Equality and Democratic Governance

One of UNDP’s core strategies to promote women’s empowerment is by working to increase their representation and participation in decision-making processes at all levels. UNDP is committed to help create a critical mass of women leaders at the local level, with a target of 20 percent elected women as community heads and local council members by the end of 2020.

UNDP also aims to scale up the innovative models of citizen engagement in decision-making at the local level and support the institutional framework and policy reform processes necessary for advancing gender equality. Moreover, UNDP is engaged in fostering broader capacity on the ground for more gender-responsive results through its projects on human rights and open government.

UNDP’s Women in Local Development (WILD) project works at the intersection of women’s and youth empowerment, and local governance. The project has introduced mechanisms to promote women’s representation in decision-making and increased public awareness to advance women’s leadership. During the 2016 local elections, there was a 24 percent increase in the number of women elected as local councilors compared to 2012. 173 of the 500 women candidates that were elected had been involved in the WILD project.

Gender Equality and Environmental Resilience

UNDP prioritizes mainstreaming gender equality in its projects dedicated to environmental sustainability, resilience building, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the green economy.

UNDP promotes gender-responsive development changes on the ground, focusing on including gender equality principles in disaster and climate risk reduction policies, plans and budgetary frameworks. It also promotes the collection and analysis of disaggregated data to assess disaster risk from a gender perspective.

Ending Sexual Harassment and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UNDP

UNDP is committed to having the strongest possible policies and procedures in place to protect its personnel from all forms of workplace harassment. UNDP in Armenia is therefore implementing a serious measure to ensure a works place culture whereby sexual harassment is not tolerated, perpetrators find it very hard to engage in sexual harassment, and victims feel safe and protected to report it and be sure that action will be taken. Examples include running awareness raising trainings, strengthening the accountability of manager, and appointing focal points from whom UNDP personnel can seek advice and support. Please check out our new policy on harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and Abuse of Authority for more information. More information is also available here

UNDP Silver Gender Equality Seal

In 2017, UNDP in Armenia was awarded the Silver Gender Equality Seal, a certification that recognizes the achievements of UNDP Country Offices in mainstreaming gender equality into all their programmes and projects and delivering transformational gender equality results. 

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