It was business as usual in Armenia marking International Women’s Day. Still, overwhelmingly, it was “flowers and chocolates” for women. Only few, very few in fact, tried to make it somehow relevant.
Women’s Resource Centre , along with some other NGOs and supporters marched via downtown Yerevan, calling for equal rights, and held a ‘private burial’ of “Red Apple” (more about this tradition and meaning of the ‘funeral’ – here)
Onnik Krikorian posts photographs and an account of how these civil society groups marked International Women's Day in Armenia on the Frontline Club blog.
There were attempts at disrupting the event by some. Some of those ‘defenders of traditions’ were discussing the other day on their blogs the option (among others) of bribing religious women at Yerevan churches (!!) so that they will come and disrupt the action. No surprises here.
Twice the marchers were stopped by police, which was a clear violation of the Armenian Constitution and laws allowing any march of less than 100 people to pass without a prior authorisation. To see a riot police van accompanying a small women’s march, that’s something. How frightened are they with any display of rights movement...
Overall, machismo was on full display in Armenia on International Women’s Day.
Sadly, I have to agree with Onnik Krikorian that “...the day illustrated how tradition and patriarchal attitudes are slow to die out in countries such as Armenia. Basically, if anyone is expecting a female liberation movement, let alone a sexual revolution, to occur anytime soon, well, don’t hold your breath.”
On the other hand, thanks to that small group of activists, the hope for changes in our country stays at least alive. Well done to Women’s Resource Centre and supporters for making International Women’s Day in Armenia somehow relevant to its real meaning.
*all photos - by Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2009 (+ The Caucasian Knot - Oneworld Multimedia Facebook Group)