Dozens of demonstrators marched Tuesday through downtown Yerevan to mark the International Women's Day and to raise awareness of the issues women face daily across Armenia. The marchers used a loudspeaker to inform passersby that 61 percent of Armenian women, for instance, are periodically subjected to different types of violence, while female employees in the public sector earn an average of 36 percent less than their male counterparts.
“Women Are Different,” “Scientist,” “Virgin,” “Cleaner,” “Lesbian,” “Entrepreneur,” “Woman Living with HIV,” “Sex Worker,” read only some of the posters held aloft by demonstrators. They also gave out leaflets reading that “women are different, and their choices vary. A woman’s ‘role’ and ‘place’ should not be identified based on one's own beliefs.”
Most passersby reacted positively to the march and showed interest in what they heard and read. Some people, however, mostly young males, were visibly aggravated by the march and even stopped to inform the marchers that such public actions “are shameful and ugly phenomena.”
“One might think that women’s rights in this country are totally violated. Who says women have no rights? Sure they do, but that doesn’t mean I should take posters and start protecting people’s rights,” Epress.am reporters overheard one of the young men saying to a female marcher.
“These people have the same rights as anyone else. They have the right to freedom of assembly. Besides, the law might provide for equal rights between men and women, but it’s on paper only,” the girl replied.
The young man was not convinced and proceeded to complain that the marchers were “advocating homosexuality, and that’s not normal.” “I don’t care what they do among themselves, but let them not take to the streets and preach it. They have no right to a family,” he said, adding that “it’s like allowing people to marry animals if they want to.”