“Gender agenda for the equal involvement of men and women” was the topic that was selected for the discussion held on 28 March 2013 at the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s office. The participants of the discussion were: Guguli Maghradze, member of the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia, Tamar Gurchiani, a lawyer, Tamar Bagratia, expert on gender issues, and Tamar Sabedashvili, advisor on gender issues at the United Nations Organization.
Below are topics and questions of the discussion: why gender equality is perceived in Georgia as an issue concerning only women; what changes women’s participation in politics will bring about, and why it is not demanded by the Georgian society. Moreover, the debates raised questions of why women’s involvement is important in decision-making processes; the place that Georgia occupies on the Gender Equality Index according to 2012 research; to what extent progress reflects reality in terms of women’s representation in Parliament; and how women were represented in party lists presented to the central electoral commission for the 2012 parliamentary elections. Speakers also addressed how the electoral subjects presented majority women candidates; what the Gender Equality Council in the Parliament of Georgia is working on; how the quotas are assigned and why they are being objected to; and how the Gender Equality Council is going to maintain the number of women and establish quotas at the regional level. With regards to the legal framework, speakers questioned whether it is comprehensive enough to ensure the protection of women’s rights, and why problems of gender equality exist in the country where there is proper legislation on the elimination of family violence, with the Law on Gender Equality in place. They also addressed whether women’s issues should be discussed from the perspective of human rights or as an issue of social protection; why we should not talk to decision-makers with respect, and how we should insist on the protection of our rights; how to overcome the discriminatory practices and negative social stereotypes towards women that have been established for centuries; and what the state can do in this regard. The discussion then analyzed why it is difficult to fight against stereotypes on an individual level, and why some women’s organizations are shy to tout feminist views. Finally, why was there was only one man in the audience at the end of the discussion, and why was he confused at being the only male representative?