Today and yesterday (perhaps because of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) the media and Armenia’s blogosphere seems to be full of information about Armenia’s women. I guess the underlying question is, why are they so powerless in Armenia?

When I was watching the All-Armenian Telethon past Thursday on the web, where unrecognized Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s foreign cabinet minister Naira Melkumian was campaigning, I asked to myself, “Why Karabakh has a powerful woman leader, but Armenia doesn’t?”

The first answer that came to my mind was the idea in Karabakh to be as democratic as possible. The leadership there has repeated many times that the only way to have the international community recognize their independence is to show that it is the most democratic place in the former Soviet Union. Perhaps, they mean it.

So why doesn’t Armenia want to show off? I was talking to the president, one of my best friends, of Armenia’s most powerful and prestigious university student government a few weeks ago, and he said that there were no women in their group. He said they were trying to recruit women, but he also ended up confessing to having not selected a young woman (I think for a chair or something) because she seemed to them a “careerist.” Well, here is what Onnik Krikorian writes about some events organized in Yerevan about the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: “Interestingly, one of the NGO’s senior members told me that their activities were severely restricted at Yerevan State University on the basis that they ran counter to what was allowed on campus.” Hm…

In a general note, why are Armenian women subjected to so much violence? And at the same time, the medieval “women are sensitive [and therefore not fit for certain things]” argument still exists in the Armenian popular culture.

Is that the reason that almost half of Armenia’s women, as Russian Regnum reports today, have been subjected to family violence? We bit them cuz they are sensitive, right? Is that the reason that macho Armenian brothers bit the crap out of their sisters to “make their sisters a good one”? And then it is OK for these sisters to be bitten up by their husbands since it is what they have seen. It seems like brothers have generally become an obstacle in Armenia for their sisters’ success in life, education and career.

We laugh at “Aghjka khosqereh asnavani chi” (“the testimony of a girl is not a proof” – a satire saying in a popular Armenian movie), but don’t realize that Armenia’s youth repeats that phrase, and they mean it, thousands of times a day in the streets. Will I offend someone if I say that in Armenia’s rural areas women are usually treated like animals? One will say you can see the similar in all over the United States, but unlike the latter, Armenia has fewer women in legislature than any other country in Europe.

Why compare Armenia with the world leader? Well, what about India, what about Sri Lanka and Bangladesh then? How come these countries have had women leaders and Armenia cannot? How come Karabakh can, and Armenia cannot?

I wonder if yesterday’s events in Armenia touched upon human trafficking. Let us pray for all Armenian women and girls, including…, who are subjected to sexual slavery in the UAE, Turkey, Israel and other countries…