Gender Equality and women’s rights

The Public Defender has presented the chapter of his report “Gender Equality and Women’s Rights” for 2013 to the NGOs’ sector, international organizations and governmental bodies.

According to the data for 2013, the key challenge for gender equality is low rate of women’s involvement into political life of the country. Women’s share in the parliament is 11 %, 21 % - in the Cabinet of Ministers and 10 % - in local self-government bodies.

Despite of the fact that after the Parliamentary Elections of 2012 women’s representation in the legislative body increase by 5%, Georgia still remains in the list of the countries where women’s representation on a decision-making level is still low.

The legal arrangement measures taken in 2013 for facilitation of women’s political participation are worth mentioning. The amendment of organic law of Georgian on political unions of citizens provided for additional 30% on party funding in case if in the party list submitted by the party, 30% of every ten members would be opposite sex. In 2014, as a result of interagency cooperation, 2014-2016 Action Plan of the activities for implementation of gender equality policy has been elaborated; one of the key objectives of this action plan is to facilitate women’s political participation. An important step towards gender mainstreaming was introduction of the position of the advisor on gender equality issues at the institutional level.

In 2013, the department of gender equality was established at the Office of Public Defender; this initiative makes the Office of Public Defender number one state institute, which established a structural unit dedicated to gender equality.

As of 2013, women’s economic activity and participation in economic life of the country is very low. According to the data of “Global Gender Gap Index” Georgia holds 64th position among 136 countries. According to the same source, instead of progressing, Georgia is regressing in comparison to the previous years; According to the data from the same source, according to the index of equal pay for equal work, the situation is alarming.

Legislative initiatives of 2013, aimed at improvement of women’s labor rights are worth welcoming. In particular, the term of leave and remuneration for pregnancy, maternity and child care increased;

According to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, total number of domestic conflict calls/reports received by the operational management center of LEPL “112” emergency assistance during the year of 2013; among the registered cases, following indicators of violence were registered: physical - 139; psychological - 188; economic – 18 and coercive - 13. There were no facts of sexual violence.

After the study of the statements applied in the Office of Public Defender, revealed many problems domestic conflict with monitoring of administrative - legal measures, restraining and protective orders. In some cases, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has failed to provide effective measures.

In 2013 Public Defender found out about the facts of harassment of women in public places, which was demonstrated in degrading acts against them;

According to the information provided in the report, as per the data of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, 7367 girls from public and private schools ceased basic education course during the period of October 2011-January 2013; in most cases the reason was early marriage. Despite of the recommendations provided in the report, the issue of early marriage is still very urgent and unfortunately, no effective steps have been yet taken.

Georgian law does not give a definition of a status of a single mother, and therefore, there are no state programs to support them. The “single mother” is a person who has never had a husband or is a widow and has a child (children). The problem of general nature is that single motherhood in Georgia is linked not only to paternal ignorance of a child and evasion of responsibility, but also social and state’s indifference. On the one hand, society’ stereotypical attitude and on the other hand - the government's lack of assistance programs result in extremely severe material and legal condition of single mothers.

Despite of the fact that Georgian legislation is not discriminatory towards LGBT persons, its practical enforcement does not ensure adequate legal guarantees. The incidents of discrimination of LGBT persons in labor, health, social and economic relations are quite frequent. They suffer violence and unequal treatment in different areas of life, in families and communities. In most cases they do not apply to law enforcement for restoration of infringed rights, as they have no trusts and believe that if they apply to police, they will become victims of homophobic treatment. There are frequent cases of domestic violence against LGBT persons. It forces them to conceal their gender identity and sexual orientation. Community finds public demonstration of heterosexual relations admissible, but in case of LGBT, such demonstration becomes reason of violence against them. Jobs, friends, families – these are the places where have to hide their identity. The attitude of family members is often negative and there are forceful attempts aimed at change of their identity and orientation. Studies show that the members of LGBT groups often become victims of both physical and psychological violence from their family members.

On May 17, the international day of fight against homophobia and transphobia, the rally was attacked and dispersed by the participants of parallel rally, including members of church; their aim was not to impede the rally but rather to physically attack and punish the participants. Despite of the fact that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia was given several-days prior notice about the parallel rallies planned to be held in one and the same area, and was warned about possible threats that might have occurred, LGBT persons and their supporters were not allowed to exercise the right granted by the constitution - right to assembly. At the outset of the rally patrol police was mobilized in the area; the cordon was arranged, but police could not maintain the cordon. 4 participants of parallel rally were imposed administrative penalty in amount of GEL 100 each. Criminal charges were brought against 5 persons, including two clergymen (charges against one clergyman were dropped).

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