Vardadzor: There are no men to be
seen in the rural lanes of Vardzador as mother-of-four Susanna
Asatrian makes her way to the fields to thresh barley and
Her husband has left the country in search of work like
so many other men in remote, impoverished Armenian settlements, leaving them almost entirely populated by women
to symbolise the country`s depopulation problem.
"It`s a total matriarchate. We even joke that our
village`s name should be changed from `Canyon of Roses` to
`Canyon of Women`," said the 36-year-old
In the midst of the harvest season in Vardadzor, around
130 kilometres from the ex-Soviet state`s capital Yerevan,
women do the hard agricultural labour, prepare for the long
winter ahead and raise their children practically without male
"The children miss their father, but what can we do?"
In villages like this, women traditionally marry young
and their husbands often leave after their honeymoon to work
as migrant labourers, only returning for a couple of months
The men who remain are largely elderly.
More than a million people left Armenia in the years from
1988 to 2007, with around two-thirds of them relocating to
Russia, like Asatrian`s husband, leaving the small Caucasus
republic with a current population of 3.2 million.