YEREVAN — U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch made a case for a greater involvement of women in Armenia’s political life on Wednesday, saying that is a necessary condition for democratization and the rule of law.

Yovanovitch said political and economic reforms in the country will not produce desired results as long as Armenian women remain underrepresented in all branches of government and political structures. “Political systems in which women take leadership roles in politics and in government have lower levels of corruption,” she said.

The diplomat was speaking at a conference on women’s role in Armenian politics that was organized in Yerevan by the U.S. National Democratic Institute. The two-day forum brought together representatives of women’s organizations and some of the few women holding high-level positions in Armenian state institutions, notably Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosian.

Yovanovitch complained that throughout her three-year diplomatic work in the traditionally male-dominated country she has frequently heard views that a woman should primarily look after her husband and children, instead of engaging in political activities. She said failure to use women’s intellectual potential is a “crime.”

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