In spite of declared equality, the lack of women in Georgian politics and at all levels of government is obvious. This was the main topic of the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s public discussion organized in Batumi.
Before the 1990s, the low representation of women at different levels of government was mainly associated with women’s personal choice, in connection with Georgian traditions and stereotypes. The role of women in social and political platforms could not exceed their positions at general education institutions. Are these conditions still hindering factors for gender equality and equal representation of women and men in government?
What has changed regarding women’s employment and rights from the 19th century to the present? Why do women avoid political positions when they hold other prominent social positions, especially in the education sector? The speakers and participants discussed these issues.
According to a survey published in 2008 by the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, the Autonomous Republic of Adjara showed a decrease in the number of women present in the Mayor’s Office and Sakrebulo of Batumi, in addition to lower numbers in comparison with mountainous municipalities. The situation only insignificantly improved in the Supreme Council of Adjara. Out of 16 employees of Shuakhevi Sakrebulo, five are women, while only 21 women are amongst 152 employees of Gamgeoba. Eight out of 15 employees of Keda Sakrebulo are women, while the 150 workers include only 21 women. In Khelvachauri Gamgeoba, 45 women are employed out of a total of 190 people. According to general indicators, most of the women living in mountainous areas in Adjara are unemployed. At the same, political parties do not include women on the top of their lists. Even in cases when a woman becomes a political figure and achieves a decision-making position, she does not strive for improving women’s rights or changing the labor code to promote gender equality.
During the discussion it was mentioned that resolving the gender equality issue is not a difficult problem. However, the government must be willing to take strategic steps and consider the experiences of European countries that can be easily adapted to Georgia and its traditions.
Debates were held within the framework of EU-funded project: “Combating Hate Language in Georgia: Litmus Test for Social Tolerance and Human Rights”