The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Central Executive Board issued the following statement on March 8, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Since more than a century ago, March 8 has brought together women from across the world to raise their voices collectively, under one banner, in demand of equal rights.
Six years before the start of World War I, in March 1908, around 1,500 placard-bearing women marched in New York City for an increase in their meager wages, a decrease of long working hours, and the right to vote, which until then had seemed an unreachable goal.
This unprecedented phenomenon was unraveling in the same city of the New World where, barely two years later, Edgar Aknuni, an Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) field worker, would establish a vigorous women’s organization, the present global structure that today is known as the Armenian Relief Society.
Over the ensuing years, moving ahead with the robust progress of international socialism, this international “day” for women would gain international recognition across the progressive countries of Europe and the American continent, enhancing the ongoing struggle for the legitimization of women’s human, social, and political rights.
We can proudly mention that in the year 1918, the Constitution of the First Republic of Armenia had already recognized and put into practice the equality of men and women by granting the latter the right to vote and to be elected, long before many “progressive” countries of the day.
It is sad to say that in spite of the certain progress achieved since in various areas, there is a long road ahead before legitimized rights are put into practice, both on the socioeconomic and political levels.
To this day, women’s inalienable rights remain out of reach in many countries, prompting the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women (CSW)—in which the ARS is active, in the ranks of the Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC)—to annually convene an international conference to examine, assess, and improve the status of women everywhere, a conference to which the ARS brings its active participation on all levels.
On this occasion, the ARS Central Executive Board extends its best wishes to its diligent entities throughout the world, and to all Armenian mothers, sisters, and daughters actively involved in implementing ARS-initiated programs in the Armenian Diaspora and the Homeland, and encourages them to continue their struggle until the realization of a just and egalitarian world society, where men, women, and children are equally guaranteed a free, productive, and prosperous life.