New York — The below open letter and pledge were developed by a group of Armenian feminists residing in the United States, Canada, England, and Armenia in response to a full page ad underwritten by the IDeA Foundation of Armenia ( that ran in the New York Times on 28 October 2016. (The text of the ad and the list of its signatories) .

Over 80 Armenian feminists, both women and men, from Armenia and throughout the Armenian diaspora, decried the gender disparity in the “Global Armenians” advertisement signatories list, which they see as symptomatic of the sidelining of women in Armenian communal institutions. The New York Times ad was signed by 22 men and one woman. As a means to address the ongoing exclusion and tokenism represented by the ad, and which they say is endemic in Armenian organizations around the world, the feminists pledged to condition their involvement in Armenian community forums on the presence of other women. Those who signed the pledge come from a variety of professions and hail from cities ranging from Los Angeles, Toronto, and New York to London, Paris, Berlin and and Yerevan. Among the signers are prominent feminist activists from Armenia, including Lara Aharonian and Maro Martosian; producer and actor Arsinee Khanjian and filmmaker Atom Egoyan from Canada; novelist Chris Bohjalian, human rights leader Sarah Leah Whitson, journalist Lara Setrakian, and photographer Scout Tufankjian from the U.S.; and Berlin-based artist Silvina Der Meguerditchian. Academics from the U.S., U.K., and France are heavily represented.

Rachel Goshgarian (U.S.), one of the signers who also helped draft the feminist statement, said, “Both women and men play integral parts in Armenian communities, but it’s too rare that we see women in important leadership roles within our community organizations and too often that we see women being ‘invited’ to contribute as token members of our community and then barely listened to or heard.”

Armine Ishkanian (U.K.) stated, “I think it is high time this issue of excluding Armenian women was called out because despite past criticism about the gender imbalance in Armenian circles, things are getting worse.”

On October 28th, a full-page advertisement appeared in the New York Times claiming to represent “Global Armenians” and sounding a call for unified action. It was signed by 22 men and one woman. Armenian women are leaders, thinkers, artists, teachers, and philanthropists around the world, but with one exception, these women were not among its signatories. While it is an open letter and invites others to join, the discrepancy in participation between men and women cannot be ignored. The letter itself calls upon the government of Armenia to adopt “strategies based on inclusiveness and collective action,” but the process of drafting and publishing the letter should have modeled those same ideals. In an effort towards preventing this kind of exclusion and tokenism, we the undersigned pledge to condition our involvement in Armenian community forums on the participation of other women. One is not enough.

Signatories (as of 1 November 2016)
Nancy Agabian (U.S.)
Liana Aghajanian (U.S.)
Lara Aharonian (Armenia)
Michael Aram (U.S.)
Nora Armani (U.S.)
Sophia Armen (U.S.)
Mika Artyan (U.K.)
Sebouh Aslanian (U.S.)
Shushan Avagyan (Armenia)
Lily Balian (U.S.)
Dr. Karen Babayan (U.K.)
Peter Balakian (U.S.)
Houri Berberian (U.S.)
Nvair Beylerian (U.S.)
Zarmine Boghosian (U.S.)
Eric Bogosian (U.S.)
Chris Bohjalian (U.S.)
Vicken Cheterian (Switzerland)
Silvina Der Meguerditchian (Germany)
Lerna Ekmekcioglu (U.S.)
Atom Egoyan (Canada)
Ayda Erbal (U.S)
Sarah Ignatius (U.S.)
Armine Ishkanian (U.K.)
Anna K. Gargarian (Armenia)
Olga Ghazaryan (U.K.)
Carina Karapetian Giorgi (U.S.)
Rachel Goshgarian (U.S.)
Houry Geudelikian (U.S.)
Ani Ross Grubb (U.S.)
Veken Gueyikian (U.S.)
JoAnn Janjigian (U.S.)
Dr. Ani Kalayjian (U.S.)
Sossie Kasbarian (U.K.)
Silva Katchigian (U.S.)
Maral Kerovpyan (France)
Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan (France)
Shushan Kerovpyan (France)
Arsinee Khanjian (Canada)
Ani Kharajian (U.S.)
Taline Kochayan (France)
Dickran Kouymjian (France)
Lola Koundakjian (U.S.)
Stefanie Kundakjian (France)
Nancy Kricorian (U.S.)
Marc Mamigonian (U.S.)
Armen Marsoobian (U.S.)
Maro Matosian (Armenia)
Markar Melkonian (U.S.)
Barbara Merguerian (U.S.)
Muriel Mirak-Weissbach (Germany)
Khatchig Mouradian (U.S.)
Joanne Randa Nucho (U.S.)
Carolyn Rapkievian (U.S.)
Aline Ohanesian (U.S.)
Ara Oshagan (U.S.)
Susan Pattie (U.K.)
Jennifer Phillips (U.S.)
Nelli Sargsyan (U.S.)
Judith Saryan (U.S.)
Elyse Semerdjian (U.S.)
Lara Setrakian (U.S.)
Anna Shahnazaryan (Armenia)
Tamar Shirinian (U.S.)
Jason Sohigian (U.S.)
Ronald Grigor Suny (U.S.)
Anoush F. Terjanian (U.S.)
Lori Megerdichian Terrizzi (U.S.)
Karina Totah (U.S.)
Sara Janjigian Trifiro (U.S.)
Khachig Tololyan (U.S.)
Scout Tufankjian (U.S.)
Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte (U.S.)
Anahid Ugurlayan (U.S.)
Hrag Vartanian (U.S.)
Nicole Vartanian (U.S.)
Dana E. Walwrath (U.S.)
Seta White (U.K.)
Sarah Leah Whitson (U.S.)
Lilit Yenokyan (U.S.)
Linda Yepoyan (U.S.)
Meldia Yesayan (U.S)
Houry Youssoufian (U.S.)

  1. The signatories are not contesting the contents of the initial scandalous letter written by those who since 1991 have either subtly or directly supported all three illegitimate Armenian administrations.

    They simply want to add their names to the letter itself for notoriety and self-promotion.

    Who needs enemies when you have such Armenians.

  2. Yes, I agree that our women are often dismissed by a self-selected boy’s club at the very top levels. Absolutely true.

    However, the root problem here is that we have in the IDeA Foundation a group that is serving as an extension of the oligarchic establishment in Armenia penning a statement that deflects and projects from the true culprits and problem.

    the second guard — the feminists — missed the main point by focusing on the messengers rather than the message!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the latest updates from MassisPost.

You May Also Like

Armenian American Museum Honors Senator Portantino at Community Reception

GLENDALE – The Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center honored California State…

Toys Bring Joy to Children in Armenia

  Displaced children from Artsakh, currently residing in Armenia, along with children…

ACA-PAC Endorses Glendale City Council Candidates

GLENDALE – After numerous meetings, interviews and discussions with Glendale City Council…

Armenia Sees the Settlement of Karabakh Conflict Within the Framework of OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmanship – FM Mirzoyan

YEREVAN — The Armenian side continues to see the settlement of the…