Women’s Equality Day is celebrated in the United States on the 26th of August. It is a day to honor and remember the brave women who fought and continue to fight for gender equality. While the battle for an inclusive society is far from over, Women’s Equality Day reminds us of our progress and fuels us with the strength to ensure every individual’s right to access resources and opportunities without discrimination or prejudice.
As an independent, nonpolitical, non-sectarian organization run by women and devoted to the particular interests and concerns of women, AIWA recognizes this day by sharing simple ways to celebrate and make this day more impactful.
LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS
The ancient Armenian codes and legal regulations treated women and men equally in matters of heritage and property, as mentioned in the article “Women’s rights in Armenia” by Svetlana A. Aslanyan. For Example, the code of Shahapivan (443 B.C.) gave women the right to own familial property in case their husbands left them.
A few of the notable events that were considered revolutionary acts in the history of Armenian women at that time and are worth highlighting are:
- The first Armenian Republic of 1918-1920 was among the first to grant women the right to vote and to be elected. Additionally, 8% of the members of the Republic’s parliament were women at that time.
- Dr. Diana Abgar (Abgaryan) made history by being elected as the first female ambassador in the world. She served as the Ambassador of Armenia to Japan. (Learn more about her journey by reading our blog post).
During the Soviet Era, men and women were granted equal educational, social, and economic rights. They were equally allowed to access free medical services, had the same number of vacation days, and were provided with free and obligatory school education and free University Education.
Moreover, abortion rights were legalized during this period with guaranteed medical services.
Unfortunately, transitioning to a democratic system and a free market negatively impacted Armenian women’s economic and social situation. The Government made no effort to resolve the practices of gender inequality, thinking that the issue was resolved during the Soviet Era.
Today, many women face gender discrimination in Armenia. They are often limited to traditional roles at home and left out of life’s economic and political aspects.
There’s a desperate need to formulate effective laws and mechanisms that protect women against discrimination in all spheres.
UPLIFT THE LIVES OF YOUNG WOMEN IN YOUR COMMUNITY BY ENCOURAGING MORE AND MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN
There are many ways to uplift women in your communities.
How can you make a difference?
- Support women-owned businesses and female-centric organizations in your community
- Listen to and share women-led podcasts
- Read books written by women
- Encourage and support women in politics
- Become a mentor and connect with your community’s youth
Our work and efforts at AIWA are dedicated to advancing Armenian women’s personal and professional lives around the globe.
We focus on uplifting the lives of women by supporting them in 3 main areas:
- Women in Climate: From Decision Making to Financing
- Women Drivers in Climate Change: Environmental & Disaster Risk Reduction (Part 2)
- How Technology Can Bridge The Gender Divide In 2022 Webinar
- Navigating the College Admissions and Applications Process
- Beyond the Book: Transforming Armenian Children’s Literature
UPDATE YOUR BOOKSHELF WITH BOOKS THAT WILL GIVE YOU INSIGHTS ABOUT WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY
Dive deep and educate yourself about women’s rights with these books:
- Mayda, the first Armenian feminist book
- Notable Women in Modern Armenian Drama: An Anthology
- Armenian Women: New Visions
- New Horizons
- Armenian Women in a Changing World
- Voices of Armenian Women: Paris Conference Papers
HIGHLIGHT THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE
Consider this day an opportunity to thank and appreciate all the special women in your life, whether they be your mother, sister, wife, friend, or colleague.
As an Armenian organization, we want to call attention to a few of the most influential women in Armenian history.
We always hear stories about famous “Fedayees” (or those who sacrificed themselves and voluntarily went to fight against the enemy), like Serop Aghbuir, Andranik, Arapo, Kevork Chavoush, and more. However, the brave women in Armenian history who had essential roles in securing the future of the First Republic of Armenia are rarely mentioned.
Let’s go back in time and highlight 5 of the most courageous women who exemplify an Armenian woman’s power as mentioned in the article “Beyond Motherhood: Female Fedayees:” “Armenouhi” Khanum Ketenjian, “Lola” Hripsime Metsadurian Sassouni, Mariam Chilingirian, “Roubina” Sophie Areshian-Ohanjanian, and “Sosse Mayrig” Vartanian.
Women have been proving themselves and have been making history in so many fields. We’ll highlight a few of the many who actually left an impact, each in her own way:
From the article “100 Armenians Who Changed the World,”
- Vittoria Aganoor: Poet | One of the most notable Italian writers and an AIWA trailblazer.
- Anna Der-Vartanian: First Female Master Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy | First woman to achieve the highest rank for enlisted personnel in the U.S. Navy.
- Cher: Entertainer, Philanthropist, Human Rights Activist | A best-selling record artist
- Dame Sian Seerpoohi Elias: Chief Justice of New Zealand | First female Chief Justice in New Zealand.
- Carla Garapedian: Journalist, Documentary Filmmaker | Former journalist for the BBC and the only American ever to anchor its BBC World News.
- Flora Zabelle (Mangasarian) Hitchcock: Broadway Actress and Silent Film Star | Among the first stars of American silent film.
- Ashkhen Hovakimian (Agnes Joaquim): Creator of Singapore’s National Flower | A prominent horticulturist and the first woman to create the first hybrid orchid.
- Anna Kazanjian Longobardo: Engineer | Was the first woman to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University; original charter student member of Society of Women Engineers; first woman to receive the Egleston Medal.
- Alenush Terian: Astronomer | Iran’s first female astronomer and astrophysicist
- Zabel Yessayan: Author | Leading Female Writer of the Armenian Awakening Period
- Kim Kardashian: Public Figure | One of the most influential women of this decade.
We spotlight individuals doing remarkable things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them. These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative, and engaging.
If you know an amazing Armenian woman who is making a difference, nominate her for AIWA Thrive and help us share her unique and inspiring story.
RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT OBSTACLES WOMEN FACE
No matter how far the gender equality and women’s rights movement has come, women and their achievements often remain undervalued and overlooked.
Some of the most crucial topics to raise awareness about are:
- Unequal pay
- Fewer leadership opportunities
- Sexual harassment
- Verbal harassment
- Domestic violence
- Forced marriage
- Maternity leave
- Abortion rights
INTEGRATE PRACTICES INTO YOUR DAILY LIVES THAT RAISE GENDER AWARENESS
The behaviors and beliefs of an individual regarding gender roles are developed and nurtured by one’s family, society, cultural norms, religion, and educational background. For this reason, it is important to integrate gender equality awareness within our communities.
Openly speaking about gender equality can surface norms and values that negatively reinforce stereotypes and create mechanisms that give birth to inequalities. Such conversations can also showcase how beneficial and impactful it can be to have a world where there are equal opportunities for everyone.
Some practices to add to your daily lives to promote gender equality:
In Everyday Life:
- Divide household chores equally. Have an equal “division of labor” at home.
- Educate your children about having equal rights
- Report or seek support if you’re aware of a domestic violence case
- Don’t keep quiet and reject attitudes or discussions that undermine women
In The Workplace:
- Encourage inclusive hiring practices
- Pay equal salaries and provide the same benefits to employees with equivalent positions
- Develop a safe organizational channel for employees to report sexual/verbal harassment and racism.
- Guarantee maternity and paternity leave.
- Provide unbiased training
CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAUSE BY SUPPORTING WOMEN CENTRIC ORGANIZATIONS
Fortunately, many nonprofit organizations are dedicated to supporting women through education, health, career opportunities, and finances assistance. These organizations are vital in promoting women’s empowerment and the equal rights movement.
Take this day to connect with an organization you strongly believe in and contribute to its causes.
With the belief that there are no limits to what women can accomplish, AIWA continues to serve its mission of elevating the professional and personal lives of Armenian women around the globe.
AIWA is always accepting generous contributions from individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of Armenian women. (Donate)
We thank you for your generosity and for helping us to amplify our voice to reach as many women as possible.
If you are an Armenian woman inspired by AIWA’s work and want to be part of a community elevating other Armenian women, please consider becoming a member.