press release

In Armenia we live in a patriarchal, very far from democratic society where one of the most painful phenomena is the status of women’s rights. What kind of image have women acquired in the Armenian society? Woman is perceived as the representative of the beautiful, weaker and fair sex. She is an adornment for the man and his house. She inevitably is destined to become a mother and bear children. Otherwise, if she is not able to do so or doesn’t want to, her role in society becomes questionable. By the commonly accepted view, the most a woman can become is a housewife, and her place is in the kitchen. Once a year, on March 8, a woman becomes very happy because on that day she becomes “beneficiary” of man’s special attention.

This description could be extended to include many other problems such as sexual discrimination, limitation of women’s activities, absence of free choice, especially in choosing profession and place of work, (incidentally a very advantageous situation for men). It is not always the law which sets the limitations. The mentality of the regressive Armenian society also plays its part. In spite of admission of European values, it is not easy to get rid of deep traditional notions, which have been accumulated over the ages. Division of roles between woman and man, the stereotypical perceptions of “typical roles” of men and women are very strong and deeply rooted in our society. Women and men can hardly imagine themselves in other roles and positions outside the framework of the existing stereotypes.

It is important to mention that this festival is not dedicated to the issue of relations between women and men. It is rather aimed at establishing dialogue between women, and bringing to light the uncertainties on the topic of women’s role. Very often, women feel guilty and responsible with regards to troubles they find themselves in, which is not of their doing. To understand and to avoid this fallacy, it is important to conduct constructive dialogue among women. This is the purpose of this event.

Conceptually what does 8 of March provide to the Armenian Society? Instead of being at least the one day in the year when we raise women’s issues and fight for women’s rights, in Armenia March 8 has become a day when Armenian women expect to receive presents and flowers from men in appreciation of being female. After the collapse of the Soviet Union April 7 was introduced as day of celebrating women. It was called “Day of Beauty and Motherhood”. This day is virtual duplication of the Russian-Armenian version of “8 of March”. Consequently the period between March 8 and April 7 has become known as the “Women’s Month”. In this period exhibitions and activities related to women are organized, which are announced as feministic merely because mostly women participate in them. However, the content of these events is far from the artistic concepts of feminism.

Women have many real issues to discuss amongst themselves instead of being treated as dolls and adornments of men. “8 of March” is a very good kick off for starting such a dialogue and expanding it to include international context. We urge women to remember the background and the history of International Women’s Day, which will show that the Armenian version is actually celebrated against the original intention of this day.

By remembering its history, we want to declare the birth of a new “8 of March”!

Eva Khachatrian Curator


only in german

Kurator: Eva Khachatrian

mit Sona Abgarian, Arevik Arevshatian, Sonia Balassanian, Ursula Biemann, Lusine Davidian, Heriknaz Galstian, Diana Hakobian, Sanja Ivekovic, Kai Kaljo, Karine Matskyan, Astghik Melkomian, Anetta Mona Chisa, Cristina Ohlmer, Irena Pascali, Angela Sanders, Natasa Skusek & Katja Skusek, Anush Ter Taulian, Tanja Vergles / Martina Guiliatti, Narine Zolian