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Public Defender Terms Use of "Head of the Family" in Normative Acts as Encouragement of Ddiscrimination

On August 6, 2018, the Public Defender of Georgia appealed to the Prime Minister of Georgia with a general proposal and requested to modify the term "head of the family" used in the legislative acts issued on behalf of the Government with more neutral term.

Even though the above acts do not directly specify who is or should be the head of the family, a man has been traditionally considered as the "head of the family” as a decision-maker due to his sex for centuries. According to the Public Defender, the use of this term nowadays strengthens stereotypes about women, according to which, a woman is a secondary member of the family, who cannot equally earn or make decisions, which, in turn, encourages negative views about sex.

The general proposal also indicates that the legislation, which is a live organism and must constantly aspire to the ideals of a democratic society, such as establishment of equality and a society free of stereotypes, plays a significant role in the relations between the state and the community.

In addition, the Public Defender notes that the main characteristic of the family, as the main cell of the community, is equality and equal participation of persons in the household activities, while the term used at the legislative level contradicts the principle of equality and implies the dominance of one of the persons. Consequently, the Public Defender considers that the content of the “head of the family”, implying a contact member of the family who, as a rule, is best informed about other family members, should be brought into focus for the purposes of the legislative acts.

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