ARF Takes Part in Women’s Congress, SIW Centennial

ARF representatives at SIW congress

YEREVAN (ARF Press Office)–Representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation took part in the Socialist International Women’s Bureau meeting, as well as the celebrations marking the centennial of Socialist International being held in Stuttgart, Germany from Sept. 7 and 8.
France’s Mariette Garabedian and Armenia’s Maria Titizian joined the 75 representatives of 36 participating countries at the SIW Bureau meeting, whose agenda was the Women’s group’s centennial and the topics of discussion for SIW General Assembly to be held in 2008.
During the relevant portion of the agenda, Titizian made a presentation highlighting the ARF’s participation in the SI General Assembly 100 years ago in Stuttgart.
“This past March, my party, the ARF Socialist party of Armenia, had the honor of hosting an SIW Executive and Regional meeting in Yerevan. It was symbolic in many ways but in particular because just as this is the centennial year for the SIW it is also a centennial of my party’s participation in the Socialist International,” said Titizian.
“An ARF delegation participated in the SI’s congress in 1907 in Stuttgart. Mikhael Varantian, a member of that delegation a hundred years ago said the following: %u218We did not participate in the International to solve the global issues of workers’ rights ‘s that burden was placed on the shoulders of our European comrades. We went to solve our problems, to appeal to the SI for assistance for the plight of the Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire. Representatives of small nations like ourselves, who of course have the right to speak and vote, in general do not participate actively in administrative responsibilities, resolving important and complex issues are left to larger and influential nations,’” explained Titizian
On September 8, 400 representatives from 60 countries participated in the SIW Centennial celebration.
SIW Chairwoman, Europarliament member from Italy Pia Logatelli opened the event. Others speaking at the event were Germany’s Social-Democratic Party Vice-President Elk Ferner and Utte Vogt. The keynote speaker for the event was Spain’s First Deputy Prime Minister Teresa de la Vega.
Roundtable discussions regarding women in government and women in various generations also took place. Video presentation chronicling the organization’s 100 years of service was also presented highlighted by video greetings from women political figures and Nobel Laureates.
Welcoming and congratulatory remarks were also made by SI Secretary General Luis Ayala.


Complete text of Titizian’s speech is provided below:


Dear Comrades,
First of all I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all of us on the centennial of the SIW ‘s a very important milestone indeed. The SIW has been instrumental in the lives of women throughout the world and its role is just as important today as it was a hundred years ago.
This past March, my party, the ARF Socialist party of Armenia, had the honor of hosting an SIW Executive and Regional meeting in Yerevan. It was symbolic in many ways but in particular because just as this is the centennial year for the SIW it is also a centennial of my party’s participation in the Socialist International. An ARF delegation participated in the SI’s congress in 1907 in Stuttgart. Mikhael Varantian, a member of that delegation a hundred years ago said the following: “We did not participate in the International to solve the global issues of workers’ rights ‘s that burden was placed on the shoulders of our European comrades. We went to solve our problems, to appeal to the SI for assistance for the plight of the Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire. Representatives of small nations like ourselves, who of course have the right to speak and vote, in general do not participate actively in administrative responsibilities, resolving important and complex issues are left to larger and influential nations.”
Not even a decade later, the Armenia’s living in the Ottoman Empire were subjected to the first Genocide of the 20th Century.
A hundred years have passed and much has changed. Small nations like Armenia do have a role to play, to advocate for social justice and for a better and safer world, free from inequality, disparity and aggression.
This year also marked the 15th anniversary of the Armenian Republic, a milestone for my country. The ARF’s Women’s Group continues to actively work with women in the party and in society. We were instrumental in the formation of the Women’s Coalition of Armenia, the first of its kind, which has brought together women from 18 different political parties and NGO’s. Prior to parliamentary elections, which were held in May of this past year, we met with and encouraged political parties to include women’s issues in their electoral platforms and to include larger numbers of women candidates on their party lists. We were a member of the steering committee of the NDI’s “Win with Women” campaign to amend an article in the Electoral Code which would raise the required quota for women candidates on party lists from 5 percent to 25 percent our party had initiated this change in the National Assembly ‘s eventually the parliament passed a 15 percent quota.
The ARF Women’s Group drafted the section on Women’s Issues for our party’s platform for the elections. We continued training programs for women in the party with a special emphasis on young women from our youth and student unions.
Our party had 25 percent women on the party lists and as a result our parliamentary group has 3 women out of 16, approximately 19 percent. The number of women in parliament also increased from 5 to 12 out of a possible 131.
Currently my party has signed a cooperation agreement with the newly formed governing coalition. As a result we have two ministerial posts (Education and Agriculture), a deputy speaker of the parliament and 2 of the 9 parliamentary committee chairs (Foreign Relations and Defense & National Security). The cooperation agreement with the governing coalition covers the period up to the February 2008 presidential elections. The ARF will present its own candidate during those elections.
The role of organizations such as the SIW in emerging democracies such as those in the CIS can be instrumental and life altering for women. Therefore it is fitting for us to express at this centennial our gratitude for the SIW’s continued interest and attention in our region and hope that the next century will bring true parity and a global village free of social injustice for all of us.

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