Over 150 women members of local councils from all regions of Georgia met representatives of the Government, Parliament, civil society and international community at the 5th annual conference of Women Councillors’ Forum. The participants discussed gender equality aspects of local economic development and challenges for municipalities in the light of current preschool education reform.
The event was opened by Tamar Chugoshvili, First Vice Speaker and Chairperson of the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia; Munkhtuya Altangerel, Deputy Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia; Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia; and Elisabet Brandberg, First Secretary/Deputy Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden in Georgia.
Tamar Chugoshvili stressed the importance of inclusive policies that would increase participation of women in both, politics and economy at the local level.
“Georgia is currently going through a very important systemic reform aimed at decentralisation of power and shift of competencies and resources onto the regions and municipalities. It is vital that while shaping those new policies we ensure equal opportunities for all, men and women,” she said.
Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia noted that better access to pre-school education is directly connected with increasement of employment opportunities for women.
“It is particularly important for women who live in rural areas, where kindergarten infrastructure is less present than in the cities. UNDP welcomes the readiness of the Government of Georgia to shape more efficient pre-school education system that would respond better to the needs of working women and enable more women to enter the workforce since labour force participation for women is only 41% in Georgia, “ Munkhtuya Altangerel said.
The Forum of Women Councillors was established in 2013, in cooperation with the Municipal Service Providers’ Association (MSPA) of Georgia. The 5th Annual Conference was organized with support from the United Nations Development Programme and funded by the Government of Sweden, Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).