As a result of the established regional cooperation agreement in 2021, 4 partner organizations of the Women’s Fund Armenia launched their programs at the end of the year. They are part of a program called “Feminist Landscapes – Civil Society Dialogue with All Voices”, which is implemented with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with the following foundations: filia, Ukrainian Women’s Fund, Women’s Fund in Georgia, FemFund, Women’s Fund Armenia.
The aim of the program is to draw attention to all groups of women who are often excluded from the general feminist landscape. To this end, local organizations have been selected to help us identify the problems of the above-mentioned structurally excluded groups, to understand the current challenges of the feminist movement in Armenia, and to work towards their solution.
Local organizations cooperating with the Women’s Fund Armenia and their current programs:
- Socioscope NGO – “The question of women after the revolution”. The aim of the program is to study the issue of women in post-revolutionary Armenia from different perspectives and to stimulate public discussions on the issue of women.
- “Pink” human rights NGO – “Queer women empowerment through art”. The goal of the program is to create and unite creative LBTQ women to collaborate in a safe space for the exchange of experiences on sexuality, women’s issues, the feminist movement and other important issues, and to raise the voice of creative women and share their work results with a wider circle of society.
- Agate Rights Defense Center For Women With Disabilities NGO – “Feminism and Disability.” Organizing awareness-raising courses on feminism for the staff of the NGO and women with disabilities.
- Non-discrimination and Equality Coalition NGO – “”Theater of Equality”. The aim of the program is to increase the visibility of persons from discriminated groups, raise the level of public awareness about their problems through theatrical performances.
The mentioned programs are already in progress. We regularly report on them on the Fund’s social media pages.
The 4 foundations involved in the program, from Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Poland, conducted a small survey with their local partner organizations before launching the program to understand the perceptions of being involved in the feminist movement in the countries listed, the obstacles to such movements, and what resources are needed to strengthen the movements. As a result of the survey, the following facts and conclusions were drawn:
- According to the participants of the survey, feminist movements in our countries are still in the process of developments. There is no consolidated and unified movement at all, but rather selected organizations, groups, grassroot initiatives, and individual activists that voice issues related to women’s rights.
- At the same time activists mention that the COVID-19 pandemic, war in South Caucasus, attacks from ultra-rights and anti-gender groups harmed human rights situation in the countries, and negatively impacted on gender issues. Gender issues became a subject of speculations and manipulations, on the one hand, and even less prioritized in a public domain, on the other.
- Part of the participants (minority) was of the opinion that a joint feminist movement was needed because: it could become a platform for solving systemic problems of building a consensus on the movement’s strategy and main goals, and it would provide central management of the movement’s resources.
- Responding to the question of what is important for the feminist movement at that moment, most of the participants agreed that it is promoting a vision of feminism for all, of solidarity, involving different voices, connecting urban and rural areas, people of different ages.
- Some organizations often feel excluded from feminist groups, because they are not radical enough according to more radical groups, and not liberal enough for more liberal groups. They are not perceived by some members of the movement as members of the movement. Moreover, from the processes of discussing these issues at the public level, from the organization of events, the representatives of different groups often omit the research perspectives on gender issues, they do not include them in their agenda.
- As anti-gender movements have intensified everywhere in the world, mainly targeting those involved in sexuality and gender issues, it contributes to the spread of extreme homophobic hateful public discourses. LBTQ+ women’s issues are often exploited for political purposes, multiplying already existing obstacles. Not only does this have the effect that different groups or individuals may target feminist supporters, but it can also prevent other women and supporters from associating with feminism or being afraid to identify as feminists or feminist ideologues.
- The feminist movement has so far neglected women with disabilities and their rights have not been protected within this movement. Although the situation today is highly inclusive, the feminist movement is still not fully aware of the needs/challenges of women with disabilities. Unfortunately, this is due to the lack of women activists with disabilities, which is why their voices are not heard so clearly in the feminist movement in general as to substantially change the current situation.