Printer-friendly version

Seizing an Opportunity to Speak out for Women

Armenuhi has always been passionate about women’s rights. But living in Armenia, she didn’t know how to get involved, to make a difference.

When Armenuhi came to the US to start her fellowship as part of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia and Central Asia, she saw ways she could begin addressing the issue of violence against women and prepare to change things for the better in Armenia.

Studying at the University of North Dakota, Armenuhi volunteers at the women’s center on campus a few days each week. Armenuhi learned of the women’s center through participating in an event to raise awareness. “As soon as I found out about the women's center at the University of North Dakota, I wanted to talk about the things I was maybe afraid to talk about in my country.” When she contacted the women’s center, fellow students leapt at the chance to learn more about gender in Armenia, and one employee interviewed her for the center’s newsletter.

Armenuhi now speaks at the center about stereotypes about women in Armenia and the resulting violence. Recently, she was a featured speaker in the series “Meet, Eat, and Learn,” a learning forum for women college students to discuss pressing issues in women’s rights. Domestic violence, the high abortion rate, and unwanted pregnancies in Armenia are just a few of the topics Armenuhi addressed. By taking the initiative to open up important dialogue between US citizens and the citizens of Armenia, Armenuhi is learning how other countries address these crucial issues.

Armenuhi realized that volunteering at the women’s center would give her a forum to talk about the problems facing women in Armenia. “As we all know, to solve a problem, it is important to raise awareness about the problem.”

In addition to raising awareness, Armenuhi’s priority is to work to enact laws that protect women from abuses. “I am very happy to have the chance to speak at and work with the women's center as now I am not afraid any more of doing the same and even more in my country. I am looking forward to being back in Armenia and continuing to contribute to the solution to these problems.”

The Global UGRAD Program is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, and is implemented by IREX.