On December 20, the Georgian Parliament hosted a Conference on Gender and Law: Gender Analysis of Georgian Legislation. The centerpiece of the conference was an extensive Gender and Law study prepared by Partnership for Human Rights with EWMI-PROLoG’s support and expertise from the South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation. The study was the first research of its kind in Georgia, and provides an invaluable starting point for the analysis of Georgian law from a gender perspective. USAID’s David Stonehill made opening remarks, along with First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Tamar Chugoshvili and Judge Eka Gabrichidze of Tbilisi City Court.
The panel discussions focused on the deficiencies of Georgian legislation regarding rape and other sexual crimes, issues of child custody and alimony, and anti-discrimination and gender equality, and there was an emphasis was on the mistreatment of women and lack of sensitivity towards the needs of vulnerable populations. Ms. Chugoshvili’s hosting of the event and the active participation of Legal Affairs Committee Chair Eka Beselia signaled the legislature’s commitment to improving the treatment of women and other minorities in Georgia’s legislation, with Ms. Chugoshvili predicting that the study would result in legislative initiatives within the Gender Equality Council that would be submitted to Parliament. The event was well attended by representatives of civil society, as well as some members of Parliament and representatives of the executive. However, much work still needs to be done – both to analyze and document problems and to persuade the powerholders of the need for change.