Empowering Women in Economy and Politics


Gender dimension of development is one of the key areas of ICHD’s work. ICHD strives to promote gender equality and empowerment of women through both mainstreaming gender dimension into its programs and initiating and implementing gender specific projects, as well as incorporating the principle of equality of men and women into its human resources and other corporate policies and practices.

Equality and non-discrimination are among ICHD’s core values. Our staff is gender-balanced and we strive to further promote women to managing positions within our organization. ICHD follows the principle of equal pay for equal work principle throughout entire development portfolio of projects. ICHD Methodologies and instructions of using its instruments include specific non-discriminatory clues unless gender specific target groups or gender specific needs are addressed. ICHD have also implemented several projects promoting gender equality, empowering women in economy and politics, preventing gender based violence in Armenia.


One of the key issues in Armenia and in the entire region, which requires consistent efforts of the government, civil society and development partners, remains the involvement of women in conflict resolution and peace process. Women can play a significant role of change agents in the society in conflict transformation, confidence building and reconciliation. However, women were somewhat alienated from these processes, particularly in case of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. While the political leaders - almost exclusively men - are engaged in the negotiation, various civil society initiatives in mid- and late-90s of 20th century also has not engaged women in Track Two Diplomacy (T2D) initiatives adequately. Moreover, many interventions of development partners targeting capacities of civil society to participate in T2D mostly bypassed women.

Supported by the UNIFEM’s regional conflict resolution and peace building project in South Caucasus, ICHD considered that this capacity gap shall be addressed first, prior to more extensive initiatives for bringing women to the peace table and reconciliation. ICHD trained sixteen women leaders from public and non-governmental institutions, media, academia, etc. in conflict management in November 2001. Their skills in effective communication, negotiation, mediating reconciliation and peace building processes have been enhanced. Later, UNIFEM engaged the participants of the training in an exercise of developing academic curricula for university students and a training module for “Women in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building”.

ICHD considers that economic aspect of gender equality is equally important as the political dimension. With this understanding, ICHD strives to empower women in economy through enhancing their skills in business management and interpersonal leadership, improving their access to financial and other resources, engaging women in decision making on economic affairs.

Leadership issues are one of the main constraints for the most of Armenian women engaged in agribusiness. Supported by the USAID/Armenia SME Market Development Project (ASME), ICHD enhanced skills of 38 women in effective management skills and intrapersonal leadership development in January 2002. These skills proved to be useful in involving and strengthening agribusiness firms ran by women.

Supported by the Back Development Alternatives Inc. and Agribusiness Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Market Development Program (DAI ASME), ICHD facilitated sessions on effective management skills and intrapersonal leadership for 28 businesswomen running small and medium business in Armenia in Tsaghkadzor, in February 2003. The sessions have been a part of the second annual Women in Development (WID) workshop on development of Business Skills for Armenian SME Businesswomen. The workshop brought together wide range of businesses, including agribusiness, IT and textile sectors.

ICHD considers that international instruments for promoting and protecting women’s rights are critical for promoting gender equality and empowerment of women effectively in the entire region. In this context, we believe that prior to large interventions aimed at gender equality and empowering women, the public awareness of the international instruments, as well as the capacities of the government and other duty bearers in implementing these instruments shall be improved first.

Within the international toolbox for promoting women’s rights and gender equality, ICHD considers that the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (the CEDAW Convention) is the most significant human rights treaty for women and most comprehensive critical tool for persuading the governments in Armenia and in the region. As the CEDAW Convention is being continually updated to include new insights and new issues that are brought to the CEDAW Committee's attention, through the formulation of General Recommendations by the CEDAW committee, we also consider that emerging challenges in this area in Armenia and in the region can be well incorporated and reflected in the CEDAW further. We also consider that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted on the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 is inter alia a sound instrument for promoting the role of civil society in promoting gender equality globally.

Millions of men and women live in the South Caucasus, a region torn by various conflicts. While the role of women in effective conflict resolution and reconciliation processes are indubitable, neither high level political negotiations nor Track Two Diplomacy initiatives engage women to the extent desirable. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, adopted in 2000, is the first resolution ever passed by the Security Council that specifically addresses the impact of war on women, and women's contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. ICHD believes that this instrument shall be widely promoted and used to persuade the political leaderships on conflicting sides and strengthening capacities of women leaders to be involved effectively.

Supported by the UNIFEM regional project in South Caucasus, ICHD has developed an advanced-level training module on the CEDAW Convention and UNSCR 1325 in December 2005. The training module aimed at raising awareness and strengthening the capacities of gender equality advocates in government and civil society in the Southern Caucasus to advocate for and support the implementation of the CEDAW Convention and UNSCR 1325. The training module specifically provides participants with better understanding of the connection between the core principles beyond the CEDAW and UNSCR 1325, as well as mechanism for their practical implementation in the region. The training module have been intensively used by the UNIFEM regional project to enhance the skills of woman leaders of the Regional Coalition “Women for Peace” in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the partners in the three national governments and local governance institutions.



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