Parliament Unveils Review of Gender Equality Legislation

The key findings of a comprehensive study, “Gender Equality in Georgia: Barriers and Recommendations”, carried out by the Gender Equality Council (GEC) of the Parliament of Georgia, were released today, January 30th 2018, at a conference attended by representatives of the Georgian Government, Parliament, civil society and international organizations. The research analysed nine fields of Georgia’s legislation, for their compliance with principles of gender equality; the GEC’s efforts were supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Government of Sweden, under the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and East-West Management Institute, under the USAID-funded initiative Promoting Rule of Law in Georgia (PROLoG).

“This is the first attempt in Georgia to draw a comprehensive picture of gender equality challenges and offer specific recommendations to policymakers. The study provides a roadmap for decision-makers and human rights defenders to identify further specific steps needed to close gender inequalities in Georgia,” Tamar Chugoshvili, First Vice Speaker and Chairperson of the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia, told attendees.

The research is based on interviews and data provided by the authorities, along with previous studies and reports undertaken in Georgia by national and international organizations. A team of researches examined the nation’s international human rights obligations and top international practices to identify the gaps in legislation and policy, to be able to offer concrete advice for the advancement of the gender equality agenda in a number of areas. These included: political participation, economic empowerment, violence against women, labor relation, health, education, sports, cultures, and peace and security. 

Among the recommendations of the study are amendments to the Gender Equality Law, Anti-Discrimination Law, Criminal Code, Election Code, Labour Code and Law on the Public Defender. Policy recommendations are of particular importance to the closing of the gender gap in education, women’s economic advancement, protection of sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls, and advancing gender equality in sports and culture.  

Key national agencies bearing responsibility for gender equality in Georgia are the targets of these recommendations. They include: the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament and the Inter-Agency Commission on Gender Equality, Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, which operates under the Government. 

“Legislation and policies alone are not enough to close gender gaps. However, their revision is a constructive step forward to achieve meaningful equality between women and men in all spheres of life as well as to prevent systemic discrimination against women. We hope that the findings and recommendations of this research will lay the ground for effective measures against sexual harassment, domestic violence and violence against women, as well as to increasing political participation of women through temporary mandatory gender quotas,” Niels Scott, Head of the United Nations in Georgia, said. 

Following the presentation of the study, there was a discussion on the new Gender Equality Concept of Georgia. Based on the findings of the research, the new Concept (a revised version of the one adopted in 2006), was reviewed by experts from USAID/PROLoG. The Georgian Parliament is expected to adopt a new Concept for Gender Equality during the Spring 2018 session. 

“The United States government is committed to supporting gender equality. Ending gender-based violence and sexual harassment, effectively fighting discrimination, and economically empowering women are priorities of the U.S. government, and we are proud to support the Government of Georgia's efforts to reduce gender inequalities in Georgia through legislative reform and a modified State Concept,” said Elizabeth Rood, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Georgia.

The Gender Equality Council also presented its 2018-2020 Action Plan revealing key priorities of the gender equality agenda of the Parliament of Georgia.

By Máté Földi 

31 January 2018 09:34