Gender gap deepens in Armenia
By Mushvig Mehdiyev
Armenia has regressed in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2014.
The post Soviet state was ranked 103 among 142 countries, scoring 0,6622 out of the possible 1 point. The same report placed Armenia as 94th last year. Comparative analysis of the two reports proves the country's considerable setback over a year.
The Global Gender Gap Report, introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, works to define the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities around the world. The index benchmarks national gender gaps based on economic, political, education and health criteria, provides country rankings that creates an effective comparison across regions, income groups and over time.
The report ranked Armenia 82 for the Economic Participation and Opportunity indicators. Educational Attainment index of the country grabbed 31st place, while it rolled of the cliff for the Health and Survival indicators having the lowest ranking at 142. Armenia's position in the table for Political Empowerment was 123. Iceland, Finland and Norway topped the list of countries in terms of the all indices.
Armenia emerged to have the worst indicators among its neighbors and one of the most regressed countries all over the world. Continuous violation of women's rights deteriorated the social and economic situation of women in the former Soviet country.
Armenia's legislation envisages equal rights for women and men in political life, work and family. But, the Social Watch, an international network of citizens' organizations in the struggle to end all forms of discrimination and racism, reported that there is discrimination in every sphere in Armenia today. No national policy deals with women's status. There is a need for processes to cover gender inequities, as the government takes no measures to change this situation.
The lack of effective mechanisms to ensure the proper implementation of legislation leads to discrimination of women in all spheres, including political participation. The World Bank data reveals that only 11 percent of the legislators in the Armenian parliament are women. Their participation in the country's political life is not unanimously accepted by people, particularly by men.
Advocates for Human Rights reported that a great number of women confessed that they were victims of regular domestic violence. The report also indicated that the government does not support the NGO efforts to help the victims of domestic abuse. Domestic violence against women is even more prominent in rural areas of the country.
Armenia was ranked 54 among 86 countries in the Social Institutions and Gender Index 2012 report, which measures not only gender gaps but includes discriminatory social institutions, such as early marriage, discriminatory inheritance practices, violence against women, preference to baby boys in a family, restricted access to public space and restricted access to land and credit.
Meanwhile, the New York-based EurasiaNet.Org revealed the most horrifying side of the domestic violence in Armenia. The organization reported that about five Armenian women aged between 28 and 38 were murdered by their husbands in the first two months of 2014.