What we do
Gender equality and women’s empowerment remains a critical development issue in Armenia. Though women comprise 52.2% of population in Armenia and 56% of those with higher education, their representation in decision-making domains remains low.
While women are important actors in education and social affairs, and are well represented in academia, in politics certain barriers remain intact. For example, at local level there are limitations in affirmative measures or engagement of political parties to advance women. Stereotypic attitudes on roles of women and men and lack of confidence among women add to barriers for women political participation. Due to their limited representation in leadership positions women have very little influence over policy decisions. While a 25% quota system ensures women are represented in political parties, they face distinct barriers to entering office at the local and national levels.
Currently the representation of women stands for:
- Less than 2 percent as community heads;
- Around 10 percent as local council members (data of 2019);
- 24 percent as National Assembly members; 8 percent of Government Ministers and 26 percent as Deputy Ministers;
- 0 percent as female governors, 18 percent as vice-governors.
To address the above challenges, UNDP currently implements “Women in Politics” project which is aimed at contributing to enhanced political participation of women and youth in local development processes. The project is implemented in partnership with RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development and OxYGen Foundation. Aligned with the priorities of the UK Good Governance Fund, the project also builds on the results achieved within UNDP’s previous EU- and SDC-supported Women in Local Democracy projects (2012-2018), as well as OxYGen advocacy work on women political empowerment.
The project contributes to the following results:
1. Strategies and recommendations on measures to improve women political participation developed based on evidence collected;
2. Leadership potential and skills of women and youth in communities of Armenia are advanced for community development and transparent and accountable governance;
3. Role and capacities of political parties for advancing women in politics are enhanced;
4. Policy dialogue on gender equality in the context of local development and ongoing reforms from local to subnational and national levels is facilitated;
5. Public discourse on issues of gender equality, women and youth participation at all levels is advanced through advocacy and public campaigns;
6. Active young women and men in local communities are empowered: as future local leaders and as enablers of local democracy.
Some results so far
- Two-phase comprehensive and multi-dimension research on “Public perceptions of and policy gaps regarding women’s leadership and participation in decision-making in the context of local self-government reform” conducted;
- Around 60 women benefitted from pre- and post-electoral training on participatory governance, gender equality and leadership;
- Leadership schools organized for elected females and active women from communities to enhance their participation in democratization and community development processes.
- Via Leadership Schools for high school students, more than 100 male and female schoolchildren from Yerevan and all the regions of Armenia are trained on topics of gender equality, community leadership, elections and the rights of first-time voters, leadership and project management;
- 9 women elected to local self-government as local councillors or head of community in the result of project interventions ahead of elections in June 2019.
- Discourse on issues of gender equality and women empowerment is facilitated through UNDP’ signature ThinkEQUAL Conversations and OxYGen’s “Equal” public awareness raising campaign;
- DEMO Co-Design Lab 3 enabled around 40 experts, young people and CSO representatives to co-design four citizen engagement and local democratization models currently implemented in five communities of Armenia;
- Around 70 graduates of the “I AM the Community” empathy-building youth leadership model joined the vibrant network of 132 young people from all the regions. “I AM the Community” Youth Club members presented a list of 18 recommendations on the draft law on “Local Self-Government Bodies” during the National Assembly – Civil Society Organizations platform meeting.