OSCE Office awards winners of essay contest on women's role in Armenia

( OSCE ) - Winners of an OSCE-organized essay contest on the role of women in Armenian society, including 24 regional and 3 national winners, received their awards in Yerevan.

The contest, organized for the fourth year in a row by the OSCE Office in Yerevan, the Centre for Development of Civil Society and the U.S. Peace Corps, aims to promote gender iissues and contribute to building critical thinking skills among young Armenians.

"Full and true equality between women and men is essential in order to achieve security, prosperity, and sustainable democracy," said Sven Holdar, Democratization Officer at the OSCE Office.

"I was happy to read essays where students shared there vision of the role of Armenian woman at home, in the community and in the country, and suggested changes they would like to see at local and state levels."

The competition began on 8 March, International Women's Day, and concluded on 7 April, marked in Armenia as Motherhood and Beauty Day. Some 500 high school students from 8 regions of Armenia took part in the contest.

Narek Hovakimyan, a 10th grade student from a secondary school in Norabats, Ararat province, who won the first prize at the national level, wrote in his essay: "I would like women to have appropriate employment, based on their skills, and to have a man next to them who could support the family so that the woman does not lose her female nature."

Lilit Vahanyan from Vanadzor, Lori province, got the second prize, and Arpine Avagumyan from a school in Hrazdan, Kotayk province, came in third.

The OSCE Office carries out a number of activities to promote gender equality in Armenia. It will carry out a research on the political participation of women in the May parliamentary elections to help identify barriers that exist for female candidates and their electorate and draw lessons on what needs to be done to further enhance women's participation in Armenia's political and economic life.

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