Armenian Women

ARMENIAN WOMEN ROLE

 ⌊ Armenian women have always been and will always remain the backbone of our society ⌉

Women have constantly played an essential role in the course of human civilization. Starting from raising families to leading armies, women have always made untold contributions to history.

Anahit,  the goddess of fertility and healing, wisdom, and water in Armenian mythology, symbolized someone who had the will to sacrifice her own needs and desires to dedicate herself to her family. Very much like Armenian women.

The role of the woman as a mother is so important for Armenians, that there are many things in the Armenian language associated with it. Some examples are Mother Church, Mother Armenia, and Mother Language.

THE MOTHER ARMENIA STATUE

THE MOTHER ARMENIA STATUE
THE MOTHER ARMENIA STATUE

 

The Mother Armenia statue overlooking Yerevan is one of the unique statues that is a symbol of victory of the World War II.

It symbolizes peace, strength and strong will. It resembles the important value of Armenian women in their families.

Mother Armenia, with her huge sword, is ready to attack and defend the country in case of danger.

 

 

THE ROLE OF ARMENIAN WOMEN IN HISTORY

Between the 18th and 19th centuries, Armenian married women lived as virtual slaves of their husbands’ families. However, the situation improved gradually with age.

Armenian Women

 

During their first marriage year, women were not allowed to talk to anyone other than their husband. They were not allowed to leave the house either.

In some villages, these restrictions continued even after the birth of the first child.

Despite the inferior position of women in Armenian society, the Armenian Apostolic Church gave women great opportunities for assuming clerical roles.

However, they were strongly opposed to divorce. As a result, in traditional Armenia, the divorce rate has always been among the lowest in the Christian world.

Armenian women have officially been guaranteed gender equality since 1991.

This gave women the chance to actively take part in all spheres of Armenian life.

Armenian women gained influence in entertainment, politics and many other fields.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ARMENIAN WOMEN

As a nation of survivors, we have faced many wars, gone through Genocide, displacement. The wives, mothers, and grandmothers have always been the glue holding our families together, holding our national pride,  protecting them. That’s why we could go through all of this.

Throughout many centuries, Armenian women carried the complex role of a mother, a grandmother, and a sister.

They never failed to amaze with their infinite bravery.

They were never afraid to take the firearms and go fight alongside their husbands and sons for protecting their country.

One vivid example is Sose Mayrig. She is a living legend. As a fedayee, she was fighting alongside her husband, Aghpiur Serop and their two sons.

Sose Mayrig on the left and an armenian woman holding a Kalashnikov during the Karabakh War on the right.
Sose Mayrig on the left and an Armenian woman holding a Kalashnikov during the Karabakh War on the right.

 

Diana Apgar
Diana Apgar, one of the world’s first woman diplomats.

Diana Apgar was the very first female ambassador in the world. She was sent to Japan in 1919 by Armenia, to the female members of Parliament of the 1st Republic.

It was a diplomatic post, that perhaps had never been held by a woman in modern times before.

It finally gave women the right to vote even before the U.S. did.

Due to Diana Abgar’s intervention, many families, at last, found their way to a new life on the West Coast of the United States and elsewhere. Diana was also known as “The Little Mother to a Nation”.

 

 

 

OTHER OUTSTANDING ARMENIAN WOMEN

Elbis Gesaratsian
Elbis Gesaratsian (1830-1910)

She was the first female Armenian journalist and also the editor of the very first Armenian Newspaper for Women called “Guitar”.

In her book  “Namagani ar İntertsaser Hayuhis”, Elbis Gesaratsian wrote the following;

“You may have often experienced women who were more thoughtful, more foresighted and more hardworking than their husbands; but they knowingly and blindly succumb to men who do not know the right way to do something; because the woman should be a bird without a tongue and the man, even if he is a crow, he must sing and rule with pride. Yes, my sister, these are my thoughts. Our opinions should blossom. Capable persons should take this as a duty, should activate the sluggish brains in lawful ways, should be awake in holding on to her the freedoms and should be eager to educate ourselves and encourage other women to educate themselves. We should create reading rooms and societies and possess such knowledge addressing hearts and brains so that we take steps on the way of development and be counted as human beings.”

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Shahkhatuni
Elizabeth Shahkhatuni (1911 – 2011)

She was the one and only female aviation engineer and constructor in the USSR.

She was the one who founded the largest Laboratory for aviation security in Europe.

Elizabeth published several scientific types of research and studies on the subject.

During her career, she also got several awards and honors. Among them was the Lenin award in 1962.

 

 

 

 

 

Srpuhi Dussap Vahanian
Srpuhi Dussap Vahanian (1840-1901)

 

The First Armenian Feminist Novelist.

She was very concerned about the situation of the female peasantry of the Ottoman Empire.

Dussap was certain that their society would not be able to advance and progress without the emancipation of women.

“I despise injustice and prejudice. Indignantly I see the chains with which women are so enslaved that neither their words, nor their actions, nor their slightest movements are natural or true. Can truth survive, burdened by such a yoke? The pitiful condition of women has always distressed me. These sad victims of society are ashamed to be loving lest they reveal that they have hearts; ashamed to utter the word “injustice” lest it reveals that they have rights to declare; ashamed to explore religious and social corruption lest it demonstrates that they possess conscience and reason. They are even ashamed to reveal their deepest selves, to declare: “This is who I am, I am also to be reckoned with…” Heads bent, they live from hand to mouth, passing from the world, without presence; the more unobtrusive the path, the more it is commended.” –  Srpuhi Dussap (translated by Elise Antreassian)

 

 

 

Meline Manouchian
Meline Manouchian (1913-1989) armenianwomen.wordpress.com

Militant in the French Resistance, Political Activist.

She got elected as the head of the Armenian French Democratic Union in 1938.

The war started in 1939. The Nazis occupied Paris.

Meline then joined the French Resistance and started struggling for liberty.

She was also responsible for disseminating information against the Nazis secretly.

She was often posting flyers and political pamphlets on the walls of residential buildings and urging citizens to stand up against the occupation.

 

 

ARMENIAN NATIONAL DRESS – TARAZ

This article would be incomplete if we leave behind the beauty of Armenian women in national dresses (Taraz).

Since ancient times, Armenian taraz has had aesthetic value.

Armenian Taraz is loose garment in style with grooves in the front and by sides. Colors of 4 elements dominate.

According to Grigor Tatevatsi, the colors express the following.

The black of the earth, the white of water, the red of the air and the yellow of the flame.

The purple is the symbol of wisdom. Red is bravery. Blue is justice. And finally, white is the symbol of prudence.

By the color and form of Taraz, it was possible to find out some information about the person. For instance, whether they have a spouse or not.

The beauty of our women in Taraz…

Armenian Women in Taraz

 

Armenian Women in Taraz

 

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