Georgia Strives for Greater Gender Equality in Politics

Dec 12, 2017

Photo: Vladimer Valishvili/UNDP

Leading Georgian politicians, Members of Parliament, national and local government officials, representatives of civil society, diplomatic missions and international organizations took part in the conference “Leaving No One Behind”, on December 12, 2017, aiming to increase political participation of women in Georgia.

The conference was initiated by the Parliament of Georgia with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Government of Sweden, under the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality.

In his keynote address to the conference participants, Irakli Kobakhidze, Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, highlighted the country’s progress and pointed out the remaining challenges in achieving gender equality in all aspects of political, economic and social life.

“We celebrate Georgia’s progress in strengthening the legislative and policy framework for enhancing gender equality. And we recognize remaining challenges to delivering on those important goals, including low political participation of women in Parliament. Recent amendments to the Constitution of Georgia now provide enhanced mechanisms to move forward for the benefit of all of our people, including the introduction of temporary special measures where needed,” the Parliament Speaker said.   

Mikheil Janelidze, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia; Kakha Kaladze, Mayor of Tbilisi; and Tamar Chugoshvili, First Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia and Chairperson of the Gender Equality Council, took part in the conference.  

Martina Quick, Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia and Armenia; Ian Kelly, Ambassador of the United States to Georgia; and Shombi Sharp, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, addressed the participants of this high-level forum.

“Despite the slight increase in women members of parliament after last year's election, Georgia remains well below the global average. Furthermore, Georgia is lagging behind – during the last few years, the increase of women's political participation globally has been larger than in Georgia. This means that Georgia needs to do more to avoid being left behind in this key area of social and economic development. Given the slow increase in the number of women in politics in many countries, different policy measures are introduced to promote a better gender balance. Quotas is one such measure, which can help kick-start women's political representation," Martina Quick, Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia and Armenia, said.

The substantial panel discussions at the conference covered the legislative and financial aspects of the gender gap in decision-making, situation in the political parties and internal party democracies, as well as Georgia’s international commitments for achieving gender equality. The conference participants also discussed best practices related to the mandatory gender quotas aiming to stimulate political participation of women.

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