Breaking Barriers: Armenia’s Launch of the Gender Equality Seal Signals Change

On April 9, a significant moment took place as the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions was officially introduced within the Human Rights Defender Office (HRDO) of the Republic of Armenia. This initiative falls under the UNDP’s “Women in Politics, Public Administration and Civil Society” project, funded by the UK Good Governance Fund. The launch emphasizes Armenia’s commitment to gender equality and positions HRDO as a leading institution for gender equality in Armenia.

The event brought together relevant public officials, representatives from various sectors, and members of civil society, underscoring the collective commitment to advancing gender equality in Armenia. A formal message from Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was presented at the event, emphasizing the significance of the implementation of the Seal. The Human Rights Defender of Armenia Anahit Manasyan, Resident Representative of UNDP in Armenia Natia Natsvlishvili, and John Gallagher, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Armenia, delivered crucial opening remarks. UNDP Seal Global Manager Ana Landa Ugarte introduced the Seal to the audience, presenting the Seal roadmap that HRDO is initiating.  

Audience of the launching event of the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions in HRDO in Armenia

Guaranteeing equality is a primary focus of our work and the core of our activities, which are aimed at ensuring and promoting gender equality. We take pride in being the first entity in Armenia and the region to officially host the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions. This methodology aims to continuously improve the gender equality dimension of public institutions internally and in relations with partners and stakeholders, and we are looking forward to the assessment and its outcomes. We are delighted to set a precedent for other public institutions in Armenia to follow suit

Anahit Manasyan, Human Rights Defender of Armeni
Anahit Manasyan, Human Rights Defender of Armenia

The formal launch of the Gender Seal for Public Institutions at the Office of the Human Rights Defender is indeed a commendable undertaking. This assessment serves as an important tool, enabling more focused addressing of gender equality issues within public institutions. It can become an integral part of public administration reforms, fostering the institutionalization of specific mechanisms geared towards gender equality and an enabling working environment within the public system. Through the consistent implementation of this approach, there is a prospect of establishing robust, professional and gender-balanced institutions that can address their numerous challenges more effectively.

Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan

But why does this launch hold such importance? The Seal for public institutions is an important step towards achieving gender equality; it’s a methodology aimed at supporting and acknowledging the efforts of public institutions in achieving substantive gender equality within the framework of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. By integrating gender equality principles and practices into their operations, the objective is to accelerate gender mainstreaming in Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) implementation within institutions, thereby improving their approaches and potential impact on women’s lives and empowerment.

Anahit Manasyan, Human Rights Defender of Armenia (right) and Resident Representative of UNDP in Armenia Natia Natsvlishvili (left) present the official commitment of HRDO to the Seal implementation

Additionally, the launch aligns with the fundamental goal of the Human Rights Defender’s Office, which is to protect women’s rights and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. Particularly, in-house, the Seal intends to integrate gender equality principles and practices in the institutional architecture and culture, which are the core of its operations. Externally, the Seal aims to encourage public institutions to analyze and mainstream gender into their public policies, to improve their approaches and their potential impact on women’s lives, empowerment, and gender equality.

Within the Seal process, an extensive set of resources will be introduced to support the gender equality agenda in HRDO. It is designed to enhance the modernization efforts within the public sector, expanding on the groundwork established by the UNDP’s prior initiative, the “Gender Equality in Public Administration of Armenia” project.

As Human Rights Defender of Armenia Anahit Manasyan expressed, they look forward to the Human Rights Defender Office serving as a positive example for other state institutions in implementing the Seal and institutional reforms, further strengthening the work carried out in the direction of gender equality and the development of women’s abilities. As the HRDO steps into this significant role, it signals a promising era of progress, encouraging efforts towards gender equality and the advancement of women’s empowerment across state institutions.