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Gender issues in Georgia analysed

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, February 1
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented the key findings of analytical research undertaken as part of its Gender and Politics Project at the Tbilisi Marriott Hotel on January 29. The research, which was supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Parliament of Georgia, consisted of two studies carried out to assess the situation in Georgia from a gender perspective.

Rusudan Kervalishvili, Vice-Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia and Chair of the Gender Advisory Council, Inita Paulovica, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, and Louise Bermsjo, Programme Officer and the Second Secretary of the Section for Development Cooperation and Political Affairs of the Embassy of Sweden, spoke about the importance of gender equality becoming a main priority for Georgia.

“I am glad to say that we have reached the point where we have worked out some plans and established the strategies for a step forward. Gender policy is very important, concerns both men and women as a whole, and should be discussed from the viewpoint of both sexes,” Inita Paulovica stated. “I hope that most of the public will become involved in this process and the research presented today will become a guidebook for people interested in the process of political development,” she added.

“Gender policy concerns equal availability of resources for the proper development of both men and women. I am glad that SIDA has been supporting this process in Georgia since 2004. Lots of things have been done, among which the granting of permanent status for the Gender Council by the Parliament of Georgia was the most crucial. The Swiss Government has established a new strategic agenda for Georgia where gender-based equality remains a priority and the Georgian public will have an opportunity to look through the Georgian version of this agenda in March,” Louise Bermsjo said.

The studies, 'Gender and Society' and 'Gender Dimensions of the Financial Policy of Georgia', analysed the public, private, cultural and political components of gender issues. They examined the situation in different communities, including ethnic minority groups and the displaced. Furthermore, they reviewed gender aspects of the financial policy of Georgia and gender trends in the fields of healthcare, education and the labour market.

Nana Sumbadze from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) presented the key points of 'Gender and Society', outlining its results and highlighting its recommendations. “This publication attempts to draw a general picture of the situation in Georgia from a gender perspective. It discusses gender issues in public and private lives separately and addresses gender differences in human and social capital. As gender is considered to be culturally constructed, the research also highlights gender issues among ethnic minorities and IDPs,” Nana Sumbadze explained. “Gender is a cultural norm which meets relevant demographic conditions. The main reason for gender inequality is a society itself. There are some stereotypes about each sex which have become an historical inheritance but definitely need to be broken in modern life. I suggest that the term “equality” should be changed to “justice”, in which both sexes have the same rights and prospects for development,” she added.

Charita Jashi and Mikheil Tokmazishvili, experts in gender and economics, gave a brief presentation of 'Gender Dimensions of the Financial Policy of Georgia.' This outlined gender trends and development problems in the fields of healthcare, education and the labour market in Georgia and the ways they can be resolved financially at both national and local levels. The publication also took into account international experience and gave recommendations to the representatives of civil society and national and local authorities.