Alternative report of the Civil Society Institute and Anti-discrimination Centre Memorial prepared for the 65th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 2016.
The authors would like to thank New Generation, PINK Armenia, and Mission Armenia for the information they provided
Armenia’s widespread patriarchal traditions mean that discrimination against women persists in this country, particularly in rural areas. The lack of anti-discrimination laws and the failure to apply existing norms on gender equality properly have a negative impact on the situation for women. Women are poorly represented in Parliament and government structures, especially in leadership positions. Their salaries significantly differ from men’s and are much lower. Most women in rural areas are unemployed. They become housewives, do all the housework, and rarely leave the house at all. An important problem is the shortage of public daycare centers, which makes it difficult for women to advance professionally. Finally, the situation of women is aggravated by widespread poverty.
Armenia has a list of professions and spheres of activity that are “hazardous” to women and prohibited to women of child-bearing age. This means that women are viewed primarily as the agents of childbirth and not as professionals who are free to choose the jobs they want. A number of institutes of higher education place restrictions on the possibility at all or the number of women that can be accepted to several faculties (primarily in military specializations) by creating different admissions criteria for male and female applicants.
The situation is especially dramatic for women from vulnerable groups, who frequently face multiple forms of discrimination, and for female migrants. Female members of sexual minorities also face displays of hate and violence.