Danilo Türk, Member of World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid (WLA – CdM) and former President of Slovenia, led a mission to Armenia aimed at strengthening women rights in the labour market.
The mission, which took place in Yerevan between February 13th and 15th, supported the efforts of the OxYGen Foundation, an Armenian civil society organization working for the empowerment of women and youth.
Armenia occupies the 97th position of the Gender Gap Index, an indicator developed by the World Economic Forum that analyzes the link between gender imbalance and a country’s competitiveness. Despite the fact that women in Armenia tend to be highly educated, their participation in the workforce and involvement in politics remains low. This inefficient use of human resources has an impact on development and competitiveness. During meetings held by President Türk, several female high-ranking officials gave their account on how Armenian society is imbued with strong gender stereotyping.
Through a process that engaged many societal stakeholders, the OxYGen Foundation developed a Roadmap for Reform containing policy guidelines that endeavour to mitigate the existing gender gap in the Armenian labour market. President Türk’s role was to compel Armenian authorities to develop an action plan that draws inspiration from the Roadmap for Reform and includes the gender component in national programmes and labour schemes.
“Women’s rights, including labour rights, is not a sectoral issue; it concerns all of society and therefore should involve a broad spectrum of actors”, said President Danio Türk at the multistakeholder held to present the Roadmap for Reform.
In a meeting with Armenian high-ranking officials and MPs, President Türk advocated the need to form a working group that includes government representatives and the OxYGen Foundation to identify priorities drawing inspiration from the Roadmap for Reform.
Zaruhi Batoyan, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, his Deputy, Arman Udumyan, and several MPs that were consulted by President Türk showed their willingness to involve The OxYGen Foundation in future reform processes and follow up on the recommendations.
Meetings were also held with the Head of the EU Delegation and EU’s Head of Cooperation to analyze Armenia’s current standing in its democratic development. Parties asked themselves whether the recent Velvet Revolution will bring about a sustainable institutional change that produces better social policies.
President Türk also joined a dialogue organised by OxYGen and their partner Girls in Tech – Armenia, which analysed barriers still in place that hinder women’s access to technological careers.
An INSPIRED+ Mission
The mission is part of the EU-funded INSPIRED + project, which WLA-CdM implements together with the European Partnership for Democracy and The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.
INSPIRED+ fosters the compliance of core human rights conventions of the United Nations and the International Labour Organization with the incentive of granting access to certain trade benefits from the European Union (EU GDP+ framework).
President Danilo Türk discusses the Velvet Revolution and the European Union in Armenian TV
President Danilo Türk gave an interview to the Armenian TV Azatutyun, to analyse the recent Velvet Revolution, stating that “In Europe, the revolution in Armenia came as big news” adding that one must see how it will continue and thus “how the outside world should be connected with civil society organizations, political parties, etc.”.
When asked about improving conditions of labour, President Danilo Türk answered the following: Focus on women and young people. They are a big reserve, everywhere. […] Young people are more flexible in general, but you have to give them a promise that their situation will improve. Women should take an increasing role in employment and decisionmaking in businesses”.
The former President of Slovenia also discussed his presidential term, the European Union and the economy.
You can watch the full interview below.