Georgia and the Weight of Patriarchal Traditions

Georgia is often considered a country with a "cult of the woman" or more likely a "cult of the mother." The idea that women are highly respected, revered, deflects questions of inequality and sexism.

However, according to Eka Sepashvili, an expert on gender discrimination in Georgia, if you look a bit deeper the veil of equality is quickly lifted. Even if many Georgians deny the existence of gender discrimination, official data shows that discrimination definitely exists in this patriarchal society.

Ninia Matcharashvili, coordinator of MenCare Georgia told Emerging Europe, a London-based think tank, that just five men in all of Georgia have ever taken paternity leave since it first became available in 2013.

MenCare is a global campaign dedicating to breaking patriarchal stereotypes, including the popular belief in Georgia that raising a child is primarily a woman’s responsibility. “Georgia is a patriarchal society where men benefit from various stereotypes, norms and traditions,” adds Matcharashvili.

But times are changing. “If you go out to parks and recreational areas you will see many fathers pushing their children in strollers, playing with them, taking care of them” she said. Finally, the issue is not taboo anymore, at least among young people. Younger generations are more likely to divide housework and child rearing duties between spouses - tasks previously seen as a woman's duty. Regarding older couples, tradition still dominates.

MenCare relies on the “Men Talking to Men” methodology. The idea is simple, but effective: inviting local men to participate in a full-day seminar where they can openly talk about gender equality. They have also promoted the celebration of Father’s Day since 2016.

Emerging Europe is a London-based think tank aimed at supporting the social and economic development of the 23 countries of Eastern Europe and raising awareness about the region. It acts as an intermediary by translating reports and research into reliable and understandable language.

By Antoine Dewaest

Photo: MenCare Georgia

Full Article and Interview 

21 August 2018 17:05