Professionalism vs. Demagogy

The draft law on gender issues which is back on the Parliament’s agenda as “RA Law on Providing Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Women and Men” turned to be a subject of hot discussions and controversy in the society.

To balance the noise around the issue with professional perspectives and to seek ways to social solidarity, the Democracy Today NGO invited a meeting between interested NGOs, citizen and members of governmental agencies.

Gulnara Shahinian from DT stressed importance of bringing interested professionals’ efforts together for resolving the social dispute on the “gender law” as the idea of gender is distorted by those conservative and regressive circles that blackmail and threaten women/human rights organizations while the authors and the parliamentarian majority are keeping silent.

Ministry of Social Security is the only state agency facing the challenges thrown by the opponents of gender law, although it is not the only author of it, its representative  said. Women’s Resource Center won a trial against Hayk Baboukhanyan, MP, known with his conservative views on gender issues. He is obliged to apologize publicly for calling WRC “family destroyers” and “grant-suckers.” Still, he is criticizing the WRC for their involvement in women issues. Maro Matossian, director of the Women's Support Center, noticed that the conservatives target the family sentiments of Armenians as because family is sacral to Armenians and they would easily appear in the trap of lies. Hasmik Edilyan from DT finds it important to make the Government speak instead of leaving the conservatives to target the NGOs.

The participants agreed on cooperating with the Government in the areas of their common interest.  Once the professional NGOs are capable and eager to work on the laws, prepare scholarly papers and professional recommendations related to their professional field of interest, the Government should use this resource for social benefit of the entire society.

First and most, participants suggested to hold more discussions on the topic that will involve all the interested parties, including governmental and non-governmental organizations and professionals.