Toward A Woman President for Armenia

Posted on October. 11. 2022

BY Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian

Shortened for J. Publ., Sept. 27, 2022

“We need to make everyone more aware
of the benefits of empowering women.
Then I think we can succeed faster.
Because it’s one thing to achieve
Success, and another to repeat
success. That’s the job of a
leader.” Muhtar Kent

Every public servant elected to an office has a duty to serve the electorate. One of the most important duties of a nation’s president or prime minister is to make sure the people are safe and secure –especially when the country to lead is surrounded by genocidal enemies as Armenia has been finding itself since the territorial dispute of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) in the early 1990s. .

          If it is not by law or by the constitution, it is by moral principle imperative to ask the first simple, but consequential, question when the new president or prime minister meets his cabinet: Are we safe? Are we secure in the face of looming aggression by Azerbaijan and its allies when efforts toward peace was fruitless?

          The most important question to ask when the nation is in a crisis would be “what is the situation with our national security?” Blaming the previous Armenia’s presidents for wrongdoings does not exonerate PM Nikol Pashinyan from the responsibility of making sure the country had a robust national security. There is no logical excuse to absolve Pashinyan from the blame for the costly mistake of not making sure the people of Armenia and Artsakh were “safe” and “secure” from the expected, unprovoked attacks by Azeri forces, which are becoming a daily event now.

          So many indications that Azerbaijan had telegraphed its intention to attack Armenia and Artsakh, failed to serve as a wakeup call to Armenia’s previous leaders and to its new prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan,  to get ready to defend the nation against an assault by its sworn enemies.

          As a result, Armenia lost in April of 2016 soldiers, villages, and hilltops (strategic military positions), to invading Azerbaijan. Although PM Nikol Pashinyan was not yet the prime minister in 2016, he still shoulders the blame as being then a member of the government. He should not have ignored the impending danger of attack by belligerent Azerbaijan.

          Again, in July of 2022, Azerbaijan’s artillery barrage and killer drones did not make Armenia’s new leader look into the situation to see if Armenia/Artsakh defense forces could withstand Azeri aggression. What does it take to get ready to face the enemy? A total loss? A humiliating defeat? Well you got it, Mr. PM! While Pashinyan is seemingly a sincere person, honesty is not sufficient to lead a country out of existential predicament.

          As a consequence of all the mistakes committed by Armenia’s presidents/prime ministers, I wondered what it would be like to have a woman elected for the presidency position. In this article, an attempt will be made to glean from studies on how a woman fares in terms of high-ranking leadership positions. Ideas have changed the world; perhaps a woman president will be better for the beleaguered and mismanaged Armenia.

          I shall not get into the topic of the derelictions of former presidents of Armenia, but suffice it to say that Armenia’s first president started out with national blunders. Two of them come to mind: Selling out national properties, factories, and equipment piecemeal and refusing to make it easy to grant citizenship to Armenia’s Diaspora. Armenia was shooting itself in the foot!

          Fifty years ago, under President Peron, Argentina did the same mistake and Armenia should have learned from that painful experience. In other words, President Levon Der Petrosian should have looked before leaping into dismantling all the intact industrial section of the economy, selling the furniture, the equipment, the building separately, one by one.  In so doing, the wheels of the factories were disabled, ceased to operate as a whole to generate income and employment for the country.

          Due to the dereliction of our political and military leaders, we lost too many valuable people and huge swathes of territory during the Second Artsakh War of 2020.  Worse yet, Armenians around the world are in gloomy spirits and their hopes are shattered as to how to get out of this quagmire. Even on a daily basis, Azerbaijan is still nibbling away Armenian territory with no end in sight. Many people expect a large-scale attack by Azerbaijan in the coming days.

          Drawing upon many studies, let us explore how well women are capable of handling high-ranking, high-level leadership positions such as chief-executive officer, secretary of state, president of a corporation, and the like.

          Briefly, the following characteristics of women are the consensus of many researchers who have scientifically determined as to what makes women stand out compared to their male counterparts: Women are –Great Listeners. Research shows that women in leadership positions are better listeners. They listen, appreciate diverse view points, and make informed decisions after hearing all points of view.  In this way, they learn, reflect, and implement a plan that incorporates the best of ideas.

Great Team-Players. As leaders, women are team-oriented. Unlike men who are usually lone wolves, women are more nurturing, and help the team members grow professionally. They are effective collaborators and strive to succeed, which boosts teamwork and helps implement a new culture within the organization. The end result is synergy.

Great Communicators. One of the strongest skills of women is communication. Generally, they are better at getting longer lasting results because they have an open and more communication-friendly or naturally interactive style and this encourages participation as opposed to men’s command and control approach. Also, women’s command of the language and articulation is much better than that of men.

Great in Defying Challenges. Over the years, the world cultures have made it very difficult for women to succeed. The odds are always against them to lead and it is an uphill battle for them to get to the top. Those women who have acquired a position of leadership, after overcoming many hurdles, would tend to emerge stronger and more determined to succeed. The rough experience of shattering the glass ceiling would make them great leaders to face even complicated challenges. As a result, they believe in gender equality for all.

Great at Multi-Tasking. Due to different roles that a woman plays in her own life (e.g., wife, mother, writer, publisher, etc.), multi-tasking comes naturally to her. The ability to switch among tasks and handle multiple tasks simultaneously, helps women decisively and rapidly respond to different tasks or situations at the same time, a time which is a critical component to successful leadership.

Great at Leading by Example. Women leaders are petrified to have a blemish on their reputation. Therefore, the tendency is to operate openly and candidly in carrying out the responsibilities of their position. Women believe strongly in transparency in conducting national affairs. For them honesty is the best policy to avoid embarrassment and disgrace.

Great at Emotional Intelligence. In interpersonal relations, women show higher emotional intelligence, which is the ability to use emotion to increase one’s own and others’ success. Women are quicker than men to recognize emotions in themselves and in others and relate. This trait comes to women more naturally to aid them sense in the moment how others are reacting and makes them good mentors, teachers, and group leaders.

Great Transformational Catalysts. Women are more concerned to making a difference in people’s lives. Women leaders usually serve to transform people’s lives, male or female, for the better. A great leader, for instance, never fails to influence people around him or her by inspiring their thoughts for greater success in life. A woman’s charismatic leadership style is well established to draw people towards organization’s mission and vision.

Great Stamina to Persevere. It has been established that women have higher level of stamina than men do. Like in a prize fighter, stamina is essential to endure the torturous rounds to either knock down or knock out one’s opponent. Men are known to have shorter stamina in handling long-drawn problems facing the organization they happen to lead.

Great at Telling the Truth. Since the previous presidents of Armenia have enriched themselves at the expense of the country they ruled by embezzling and telling lies, and since I have a firsthand experience with this topic, let me elaborate on this important honesty virtue of whose lack has caused a lot of problems to the national security of the Armenian people.

          Based on one of my areas of study called “Response Error” in psychology as to why people misrepresent or misreport (i.e., lie) factual information that can be verified. I proposed a unified theory of Response Error to explain as to why people lie.  For example, an applicant may be asked to state his or her age. If the person is over fifty and states his or her age to be 45, that is Response Error, for that information can be verified by checking his or her driver’s license or other documents such as birth certificate.

          In my academic studies, time and again, men engaged more in Response Error than women did, namely they lied more often than women did. I tend to subscribe to the firm belief that women are more straightforward than men are. Honesty is one quality that Armenia direly needs in its leaders.

          In addition to gender difference, Response Error studies have shown that young people distort more verifiable information than older ones. Also, people who live in rural areas engage less in Response Error than those who live in urban areas.

                   In the final analysis, on account of the superior characteristics of women to serve in leadership roles, maybe Armenia should try to elect a woman for the presidency or prime minister’s office to avoid this time electing congenital, shameless liars bent on pursuing their own personal gains.

          Based on many of their admirable traits, women would listen to the Diaspora better than men presidents for women’s ego are not as overly inflated when they get into office. After all, we have only male chauvinists, and no female chauvinists. As you know, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, but men are more susceptible to that temptation than women are.

          After being elected to the office, suppose the Armenian head of the government enlisted my help as a Diaspora member to serve in a advisory position, I would suggest: he or she should ask first of all two short questions about two little words that would make a hell of a lot of difference about the national security situation:

          “How safe are the people?” “How secure are they?”  Two little words would make a whale of a difference for the destiny of the country.

          As you know, both words safe and secure mean free from danger. Nevertheless, there is a shade of difference in the meanings between the two words. Safe suggests freedom from a present danger (e.g., I felt safe as soon as I crossed the street, or we do not feel safe with our current outdated weapons).

          As for secure, it suggests freedom from a possible future danger or risk (e.g., locks on the door made us feel secure, or attack drones will make us feel secure against a foreign aggression).

          Any response that shows weakness in our national “safety” and “security,” will have to be treated as top priority of the country to begin solving them immediately. Had Mr. Nikol Pashinyan asked these two little questions when he became the prime minster in 2018, we would have been better prepared to face the combined forces of Armenia’s adversary in 2020.

          Any national leader’s first and foremost responsibility is the safety and security of the people, of the country, of the nation. Our Armenian leaders lack basic knowledge and experience in leading a country surrounded by belligerent enemies.

          Safety and security, like bread and shelter, come first, then building theaters and operas or even roads and bridges for the country.

          In my review of the literature, I did not come across a single article or study which concluded that women did not make better leaders.

          Before we proceed any further, let us define a woman. A woman is is an adult human with intelligence, emotions, abilities, and drive to excel with greater stamina than men are able to withstand a challenge. Many large corporations in the US are led by women who persevered to shatter the glass ceiling with patience, intelligence, and energy.

          In view of her positive characteristics, one can conclude that a woman leader is a shepherdess to nurture her country (e.g., Armenia) as one of her own children.

          The year 1991 marked the first year when more female students began to attend colleges and universities in the US than male students.  In every human endeavor, women are advancing by leaps and bounds. Women have proven their worth in every discipline, including astronomy, athletics, entertainment, writing, business, politics, science and technology, and so on.

          Gender bias aside, the above listed characteristics give us more than a glimpse of their grit and perseverance. Even when faced with uneven playing fields, many women defied all odds with their honesty, intelligence, boldness, hard work, and determination.

          Many countries have chosen women as president. Germany, UK, India, Pakistan, and some others have had no scandals by women presidents.

            Mao Zedong, former President of the People’s Republic of China, once proclaimed, “Women hold up half the sky.” He was referring to women being a resource that ought to be utilized in the professional workforce. We probably should say: “Women hold up most of the sky over the heads of men,” for bearing, rearing, and nurturing the next generation of a nation.

            Leadership cannot be gender specific – a person’s leadership abilities should depend on their individual strengths and personality traits. Yet, studies have shown that women often surpass men in leadership positions.

          Armenia is facing a sea of problems. Perhaps a women president or a prime minister would alleviate its woes in terms of many national problems such as the economy, corruption, domestic crimes, national security imperatives, etc.

          Also, Armenia should reach out to its Diaspora to serve as its last straw to save it from drowning. As selfless Mother Teresa once said: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” The Armenian Diaspora is waiting for that leader to “cast the stone” so that they come to the rescue of the kind of leader whose competence is based on honesty, obligation, altruism, commitment, emotion, and shared vision for the advancement of the Armenian nation.

As the woman in this picture does, a great leader lives in the future to ensure the safety and security of its people. Research findings show that women make not only good homemakers, but also great leaders in high-ranking positions. Armenia needs a leader able to energize the country to solve its current problems and get ready to face its genocidal enemies, who are now at the gates of Yerevan and Stepanakert. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So, let us try to elect a woman president for Armenia, who has intelligence, decisiveness, and most importantly, honesty in conducting her presidential duties of the homelamnd.

By request the of Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian, we are printing Mr. Appo Jabarian’s comments about the subject matter of the article Toward a Woman President for Armenia:Dear Prof. Demirdjian,
Apologies for delayed response as I am overwhelmed with multiple deadlines.
I wholeheartedly support the idea! Bright! Indeed!

I am hereby scheduling it for publication.
I’ve had it with the former Soviet/Ottoman mindset among certain Armenian male-chauvinistic, ignorant, self-centered, egomaniacs, unpatriotic, un-Armenian elements both in Armenia and Diaspora. And to top it all, these destructive elements have backstabbed their own people during the Fall 2020’s 44-Day Anti-Armenian Aggression by Azerbaijan-Turkey-ISIS  in return for personal fortune. I am of firm belief now that the Armenians have not lost the war against the external enemy, but to treason!

In the post-44 period, personally, I have enlisted myself in the Armenian National Reconstruction Army (this army does not exist on paper but it has a de facto existence throughout the globe.). Like thousands of devoted Armenian soldiers, stationed in Armenia/Artsakh and Diaspora, I am dead set on forcefully participating in the eradication of the traitors within our Armenian Nation (Homeland+Diaspora). If they’re not eliminated, we will lose all our future wars — and ultimately, Armenia will lose its sovereignty. The march is on.
All the best,Appo

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