This year for the first time young women in Armenia can enroll in the country’s two military academies. Some observers say coeducation has more to do with Armenia’s dire demographic situation than with any desire to promote gender equality.
In June, the Defense Ministry announced that physically fit women over the age of 18 who had passed exams in mathematics and physics and finished high school would be eligible for admission at Yerevan’s four-year Vazgen Sarkisian Military Institute and the Marshal Khanpertsian Institute of Military Aviation. Unlike male students, they will be required to return home in the evenings – a practical function due to the lack of coed dormitories. After acquiring a bachelor’s degree, they will be required to serve as officers in the military for 10 years.
Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian termed the change “part of large-scale reforms in the army” and an “opportunity for representatives of the gentle sex” to gain a “higher military education and professional growth.”
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a freelance reporter and editor in Yerevan.