Distinguished Deputy Speaker of the Swedish Parliament Lotta Johnsson Fornarve,
Distinguished Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Judith Margareth Farnworth,
Dear MPs and guests,
It is a great joy and honour for me to welcome you in the National Assembly today, on March 8.
The idea of March 8 together with many other political ideas has been distorted and has lost its meaning during last decades. March 8 has been called women’s day for many years, and it has been connected merely with the day of presenting flowers and drinking to women. During this period the real meaning of the day has been left into oblivion, Today, I am glad that we are re-evaluating March 8, and we are celebrating not simply women’s day, but also a (political) day for women’s rights and fight.
That day is connected with the women’s international movement, which began still about 110 years ago, which has before it the problem of the establishment of the women workers’ rights, electing women and the right being elected. Many years of fighting preceded many centuries, certainly, to it.
The voicing of the issue of the ‘women’s problem’ and ‘women’s liberation’ in Armenia and among Armenians has a history of more than 150 years. The motivating forces of that history are Elbis Gesaratsyan, Srbuhi Tyusab, Mariam Khatisian, Zabel Yesayan, Shushanik Kurghinian, Flora Vardanyan and many other public-political female activists, whose names we have not heard.
We have not been told numerous women’s stories who have fought with their work or example, we have not been taught about them in schools and even in universities, but today we enjoy the freedoms and rights, which those women have conquered and realized.
Due to the movements fought for the women’s rights also today we are in this hall, and I address you as an elected deputy, Vice President of the National Assembly of Armenia.
Therefore, March 8, first of all is a day for thankfulness to all women of the world, who before us gave their energy and life, made efforts in the fight for women’s liberation and solution of the problems.
It is right that the women’s problems continue existing and the fight for the women’s rights also shall continue. Hence, March 8 for us is also a day of promise that we, ourselves, will continue this struggle for all women’s welfare and establishment of rights in our countries and world.
How painful is to announce, however, yes, women in our country have numerous evident, as well as not appearing problems. Though the women have legal equality fixed by the Constitution and laws of Armenia, but in practice the opportunities of the execution of the women’s rights are limited. The great part of the women’s work, the care of the family and the children, remains without notice and not appreciated as granted. It is right that women have legal equality of making families, owning their personal life, but instead of many women and girls others make vital decisions for them, and most of them feel themselves under the pressure of ‘public opinion.’ Women have the right of preserving health, but not always is the right of possessing their reproductive health and own health protected. By law women shall be protected from violence, but there are women, who undergo continuous violence and exploitation in the family, in the working and public places.
There are dozens of searches on the abovementioned numerous problems.
We have quotas encouraging the women’s participation, but they are not sufficient for the women’s engagement with high index. Today, in our parliament we have though comparatively bigger, but only 24% of women’s presentation.
We shall admit that more than 50 per cent of our women have lack of such public resources, as free time, financial means and the public trust and support. Besides, we should record that women of different social groups have accessibility of these resources and different amount of legal equality. Otherwise, they are necessary for all women, in order they will have greater participation in the public-political life and get real opportunity for solving problems.
First of all, we should give a meaning to these issues. One woman's problem is all women's problem, as it is of social character, thus it should be solved with legal mechanisms and public support.
We, women, should understand our problems, as well as realize our power, the strength of our collective mutual support. As everywhere, in Armenia too, women support each other, help like sisters. We can often admire how women of different generations and same age support each other, share their own experience, and help in everyday works how to share the working difficulties in the women's group. However, these experiences of the women’s friendship and mutual support often remain in the narrow family and community territories and don’t become a part of public life and experience. We have women’s consolidation environments, but we need and we shall expand them, we shall strengthen with other women’s support.
Celebrating March 8, first of all, we accept the existence of the women’s problems and our commitment to overcome them.
I am glad that today many such women attended this event. Of course, I am sure that many women are not present in the hall at this moment, but they are devotees of fight for women’s rights of Armenia.
Many of you with your everyday activity help our community to notice the women’s non-appearing problems, voice them and search solutions, support and back the women.
Dear women, sisters, Happy March 8, International Day of Fight for Women's Rights.
And if we have flowers on March 8, then only as a sign of solidarity for the fight of full establishment of the women's rights.