Women in Local Democracy
Promoting Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities in Armenia
The "Women in Local Democracy" Project addresses women’s representation and meaningful participation in decision-making processes in Armenia. WiLD is comprised of three main dimensions: women’s empowerment, strengthening the capacity of local government, and promotion of gender equality.
Project in depth
Economic development Category: Economic development
Women comprise 52% of the Armenian population and 58% of those with higher education, but their representation and participation in decision-making processes remains low. Only 11% of Parliamentarians and 11% of Ministers are women.
At the local level, there are no female Governors among the 10 marzes (regions) of Armenia and just one of the 21 Deputy Governors is a woman. On average, women hold 11% of higher-level jobs in the public administration of Armenia, whereas they occupy the majority of the positions at lower levels. In economic terms, women are often overlooked in ownership, access to economic resources and leverage in economic decision-making. The situation is further aggravated by low public awareness of gender issues and widespread stereotypes about each gender’s role and position in society. As a result, women's potential remains widely underused and undervalued, which therefore limits the country's prospects for sustainable development and social justice.
The background suggests the need for broader interventions to promote gender equality at the local level, to build the capacity and knowledge of potential local female leaders and to accelerate the realisation of women’s potential. There is a need to promote gender equality as both a component and a tool for fostering democratic governance and political culture. Thus, the role of civil society, the media, duty-bearers, and rights-holders as well as the level of knowledge and professional skills of the indicated counterparts are extremely important.
The "Promoting Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities in Armenia: Women in Local Democracy" Project will support the participation of women in the 2011-2014 local elections, and during their term in office. The project will deliver a broad spectrum of capacity-building and advocacy activities and also work with male counterparts/heads of non-beneficiary communities and the national authorities. The project will apply a number of methods and techniques, such as the use of social media, TV-based talk shows and gender transformative programming, which will target shifts in attitudes and behaviours. Last but not least, the project will ensure the capitalisation and institutionalisation of the results. It will build on the results of previous interventions by the United Nations in Armenia that promoted gender equality in in the areas of institutional reforms, education, decision-making, gender-based violence, and the increased role of youth and women in community life.
More specifically, the project will support the formulation and implementation of inclusive policies. It will thereby contribute to long-term positive changes and reduce the gender-specific constraints that women face in accessing higher positions of power and decision-making in the political and economic spheres. On the whole, the project will promote equal participation of women and men in development and in building democracy at the local level. The project is designed to approach and address challenges from different angles. Using a capacity development effort in three directions, it will achieve a simultaneous and cumulative effect.
The project will work in the following specific directions, ensuring synergies in the implementation process:
1. Increasing women's representation in decision making at the local level through capacity building of potential candidates during local elections and their respective term in office, specifically:
1.1 Capacity building activities for potential local female candidates interested in running for the LSG elections
1.2. Series of trainings for local female leaders in the regions of Armenia on leadership, facilitation and negotiation
1.3.Cascade trainings and other capacitating events conducted by a pool of elected females for the potential female candidates
1.4.Series of training for elected females of local self-governance bodies and communities to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills on: inclusive and responsive governance; communications/networking; budget formulation, implementation, and monitoring; accountability and transparency; youth engagement and participatory practices
1.5. Supporting professional networking and partnership initiatives among elected females, including East-East partnership
1.6. Establishing and capacitating a pool of elected women to provide training for potential future female candidates
1.7.Piloting gender transformative initiatives targeted at changing attitudes
2. Increasing the knowledge and capacity of local authorities on participatory and gender-sensitive governance through:
2.1. Series of workshops and events for relevant local authorities to address local development issues and formulate policies and programmes in an inclusive and gender sensitive way
2.2. Series of workshops and meetings with representatives from the local authorities, civil society, and the community on gender-related issues and inclusive and responsive governance with purpose of promoting better social partnership and stimulating tolerant and constructive dialogue
2.3. Periodic meetings to discuss local level issues with the national authorities
2.4. Online thematic discussion forums using the existing regional IT system
2.5. Gender and Democratic Governance Community of Practice (CoP) annual workshop for beneficiary LSG leaders as well as local and national counterparts to share their knowledge and experiences.
3. Strengthening knowledge and capacity of civil society and the media to engage in constructive dialogue on gender and democratic governance related issues and to promote non-stereotyped portrayals of females and males through:
3.1. Activities and events to capacitate civil society and the media on issues of gender, democratic governance and inclusive societies
3.2. Capacity-building training seminars and workshops to equip the print and electronic media (journalists, editors, producers) and NGOs with the proper skills and knowledge to report on gender and social cohesion issues
3.3. Broad advocacy activities at the local level to increase public awareness on gender equality, equal rights and opportunities, and women’s empowerment with a special emphasis on youth engagement
3.4. Series of TV programmes, interviews, print and electronic newspaper articles, talk shows, and PSAs on issues pertinent to the project
3.5. Facilitation of public discourse through social media and other sources on gender equality, women’s rights, inclusive societies, political and civic participation and female representation in decision-making
3.6. Rounds of events (in classical formats, as well as flash mobs, musical events, etc.) to raise public awareness on gender equality
The overarching goal of the project is the advancement of gender equality, the strengthening of local democracy and the enhancement of social cohesion within the Republic of Armenia.
- Increase the level of women’s representation in decision and policy making at the local level
- Enhance the capacities of local female candidates running local self-governance (LSG) elections
- Strengthen the capacity of local authorities, CBOs, NGOs, and media on gender issues
- Promote social partnership and stimulate constructive gender dialogue at the local level
- Support locally-based partnership initiatives within the framework of East-East cooperation
- Support youth engagement as well as the application of innovative participatory methods and tools
- Strengthen the capacity of the media for non-stereotyped and gender-sensitive reporting
- Increase public awareness, promote advocacy on gender issues and equal opportunities
The human force and the knowledge base generated by the project will be sustained and further transfered to wider community of women and men interested to engage in social, economic and political life of their communities by the pool of trainers formed within the Project. Capacity development of the women employees at middle and lower posts in local self-government bodies, as well as active women from other sectors will stimulate their growth and increase their potential as decision-makers on community, marz and country levels. The project has a potential to develop a new and more competent female human resource for the next elections.
The advocacy campaigns and the dialogues on gender roles and non-stereotyped approach will contribute to better understanding of the gender roles and equality principles in the society of Armenia, especially in the regions of Armenia.
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