It doesn’t take much to push the boundaries - sometimes doing the washing up or kicking a ball on a pitch is just enough to get frowned upon. That is, when a man does the former and a woman the latter.
In Armenia, the line dividing gender roles is neither fine nor subtle - social rules have it that men are the breadwinners and women stay at home caring for the children. This line of thinking starts early as children follow their parents’ behaviour and conversations, picking up what the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ are. So cleaning is a woman’s job, playing football is a man’s game.
Yet slowly, times, they are a-changin’, in the capital and beyond, albeit along generational lines. Research conducted by the Asian Development Bank in 2015 highlighted that over-50s are more likely to label certain tasks as “exclusively female duties regardless of whether the woman is also employed, including preparation of meals, washing dishes, and housework.” The post-independence generation believes that spouses should divide household tasks equally, but even then, a significant portion of respondents up to 39-years-old of age feel that cleaning and cooking are “the wife’s [or the woman’s] sole responsibility.”
Alexander Amroyan in Yerevan and Nare Galstyan grew up in families where there are no pre-assigned roles to fit into - what men and women can, or can’t, do is not set in stone.