On 30 June more than 70 female mayors, community council members and politically active women participated in the nationwide forum on Women’s Agenda in 2016 Local Elections, organised in the framework of the PCF Project “Long-term electoral assistance to the election related stakeholders of Armenia” funded by European Union and Council of Europe. The Forum was aimed at promoting women participation in 2016 Local Elections as well as acceptance of women at political decision-making levels. It became a platform where politically active women had an opportunity to discuss all the problems women are facing not only when they participate in political processes, but also when they just make a decision to participate.
The participants declared that women’s representation at local level not only guarantees the advancement of democracy and local governance, but also contributes to improvement of decision-making culture and quality in communities. Mrs Jemma Hasratyan, President of the Armenian Association of Women with University Education, noted that “no country should reject women’s potential, which is a highly valuable resource”. The need to involve more young women into local politics, the conservative mind set in specifically in rural areas, which doesn´t accept women in political functions and the need for support to women, once they are elected, were highlighted as main challenges to tackle. Participants also discussed strategies that could be used to increase women political participation such as enhanced networking of women, the intelligent use of Social Media by female candidates and a lot of awareness raising efforts in professional and private context.
The Forum gained high-level support from the RA Minister of Territorial Administration and Development and Vice-Chair of the RA National Assembly who showed readiness and willingness to advance women’s agenda in the upcoming local elections 2016. Both of them stated that they stand next to women who want to enter the political arena.
The Forum was closed with the adoption of the Statement to the public: “We call to voters to trust women’s potential, knowledge and skills”.