Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Situation of Women’s Rights in the RA Armed Forces

March 19, 2024

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This report is produced under the project “Fostering human rights of women in the RA  armed forces”, with the financial support of the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and  Security Funds, through a sub-grant from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).  The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the author/s/ and do not  necessarily reflect the official position of the UK Government or the views of IWPR.


The United Nations (UN) Security Council (CS) Resolution 1325 is the key international  source concerning women’s involvement in armed forces. The Resolution stresses the  important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building and urges Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making  levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention,  management, and resolution of conflict.


The study objectives are as follows: 

  • to identify systemic problems that impede extensive involvement of  women in the RA Armed Forces; 
  • to identify gaps in the legislation safeguarding women’s rights in the  RA Armed Forces; 
  • to advocate for increased effectiveness of implementation of relevant  activities by the Ministry of Defense to prevent violations of female  servicepersons’ rights. 


Study spheres 

Four spheres were chosen to be studied.  

  1. Line service 

We studied the legal regulations (legislative, sub legislative, internal legal acts and other  normative documents) that prohibit or impede involvement of women in line service of the  Armed Forces. At the same time, through interviews we identified the problems that women  encounter during military service in practice. 

  1. Prohibition of discrimination 

We studied manifestations of systemic discrimination towards servicepersons that are  expressed in normative legal acts, administrative acts, practice, formed customs, etc. As a  result of conducted interviews we also recorded some instances of manifestations of  discrimination.  

  1. Private life 

The report covers all private life spheres that women encounter during their service in  the Armed Forces. These include issues related to everyday life, motherhood, women's  biological characteristics, which can create obstacles for female servicepersons while serving in  the Armed Forces. 

  1. Education and awareness  

Covers study of programs and activities aimed at continuous awareness raising and  education. 

The study can be useful for a wider range of researchers, as well as specialists in various  fields, who are interested in the topic of women's military service in the Armed Forces.





  1. The implementation of the National Action Plan for UN Security Council Resolution 1325  has led to the establishment of a voluntary option for female citizens to undergo a mandatory  six-month military service. However, the package of legislative changes fails to incorporate  military training programs for the six-month service for female servicepersons and the legal  regulations for organizing military service. Moreover, the provision of hygiene items for female  servicepersons is not addressed. 
  2. The majority of servicepersons undergo military training in order to solve their financial  problems.  
  3. Military service-related documents lack regulations related to prohibition of  discrimination against women. On the other hand, there appears to be a prevalent  discriminatory mindset and stereotypes regarding female servicepersons, including among  female servicepersons, due to which women are perceived as representatives of “the weaker  sex” and “personnel” not suitable for military service.  
  4. Since institutional mechanisms of women’s involvement in military service are being  formed, overcoming discriminatory approaches and stereotypes is now of a particular  importance in terms of ensuring women’s promotions and appointment in high military  positions (currently, the level of women’s appointment in majors and high rank positions is  very low). For example, the current code of internal service of the RA Armed Forces separates  female servicepersons from those holding military ranks, in particular, the code specifies  “officers, warrant officers, servicepersons serving based on a contract, and female  servicepersons…”, which is itself a discriminatory approach established at the legislative level.  
  5. No legal safeguards are in place to guarantee respect for female servicepersons’  dignity. In particular, in the conditions of lack of strict adherence to integrity rules, there are  manifestations of corruption risks, patronage, and problems in commander-subordinate  relations in the Armed Forces. 



  1. The lack of legal regulations ensuring the prevention of discriminatory practices within  key legal acts concerning military service not only impedes the career promotions of female  servicepersons but also results in reduced participation of women in decision-making processes., since crucial decisions within the Armed Forces are only made at the highest levels  of military positions. 
  1. Existence of the stereotype that family obligations are women’s primary obligation also  negatively impacts women’s equal participation in military service which leads to the inevitable  difficulties of combining them with the fulfillment of military obligations. Male servicepersons  also find that the primary obligation of female servicepersons is to fulfill family/domestic  obligations. The fact that female servicepersons also record the difficulty of combining these  two obligations evidences the need for the formation of safeguards necessary for service  obligations in the Armed Forces for all servicepersons, regardless of their sex. In particular,  equal opportunities should be guaranteed and assured for both male and female  servicepersons to participate in military education, training courses, and have career  promotions.  
  2. 3.Salary of servicepersons also depends on promotion opportunities. Actually, in the  conditions of lack of such promotions, women are also deprived of the opportunity to receive a  high salary.  
  3. 4. Establishment and launch of effective mechanisms of appeal for cases of  discrimination is of key importance in terms of ensuring legal equality of female servicepersons  in the Armed Forces. However, those manifesting discrimination in the Armed Forces are not  punished, moreover, servicepersons prefer not to voice such cases, as they fear losing their  job. 



  1. Childcare leave period has a restrictive impact in terms of attaining a regular military  rank granted to female servicepersons and is not counted in the length of military service  according to the RA Law on Military Service and Status of a Serviceperson. 
  2. Cases when female servicepersons do not return to military service after pregnancy  and childbirth leave is yet another problem evidencing stereotypical attitudes towards women. 3. Barracks are not provided with fundamental conditions for decent military service, in  particular, for female servicepersons. 
  3. Discriminatory attitude is manifested even in matters of providing a military uniform.  However, male servicepersons also have problems in this matter. 




  1. The RA Ministry of Defense organizes training courses and events, discussions and  awareness-raising training courses for the Armed Forces personnel on the UN SC Resolution  1325 and the relevant RA NAP. However, in practice, five years after adoption of the NAP, the  majority of both male and female servicepersons of the Armed Forces are not informed about  them. Therefore, this means that the performed awareness-raising action cannot be  considered sufficient.  
  2. There are not enough publications visible on the official webpage of the RA Ministry of  Defense covering involvement of female servicepersons in order to increase attractiveness of  military service and, in particular, to promote the involvement of female servicepersons in  military service 
  3. In practice, there is no regular training on human rights, legal equality of women and  men, anti-discrimination, and the prevention of violence against women in the RA Armed  Forces. As for training courses, female servicepersons are involved in them less than male  servicepersons, which is not only a manifestation of discriminatory attitude, but also directly  limits promotion opportunities for female servicepersons.  
  4. In addition, rights of servicepersons are often violated as a result of their lack of  knowledge about human rights and military regulations. In case of serving military service  beyond the specified period, lack of awareness regarding the law on entitlement to rest days  often results in prolonged work without having sufficient rest days as stipulated by law.  
  5. At the same time, the initiative of introducing an IT application for anonymously  reporting human rights violations and instances of corruption within the Armed Forces is highly  regarded. The majority of servicepersons think that this initiative could contribute to  identifying and addressing issues within the Armed Forces.


See the full report HERE

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