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Gender equality requires legal basis

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, August 18
The Women’s Information Centre (WIC) held a meeting on August 15 regarding ensuring an institutional mechanism for gender equality in self-government bodies. Various NGOs and representatives working on gender equality issues in Georgia attended the meeting.

Through the WIC initiative, advisors for gender issues were appointed in various state structures in 2013. The process is still ongoing. However, the center is afraid that the advisors might be removed during the reorganization of the local bodies. Thus, WIC as well as other NGOs believe that certain amendments should be introduced in legislation that will make gender-related structures obliged in various state institutions.

NGOs attending the meeting stressed that the number of women in local authorities significantly decreased in 2014, and that the Georgian Dream coalition has failed to pay appropriate attention to the issue. The attendees also suggested that Georgians still lack the understanding that men and women can work equally on high posts.

WIC and OXFAM, which supports the project, stated that a special advisors’ council should be created at Sakrebulos that will work on gender- related issues and take part in the budget distribution.

Supporters of the idea stated that creating such councils in the Sakrebulos is more beneficial, as the body’s rights have significantly increased due to the recent amendments in the legislation. However, there were those as well who stated that the formation of commissions in Sakrebulos or establishing such councils in executive bodies would be more useful.

The representatives at the meeting agreed that a special council would be created with the participation of various NGOs and individuals that will draft the required amendments in terms of gender issues and present them before the government in September.

Head of WIC Elene Rusetskaia told The Messenger that gender equality problems should be addressed from the lower levels and from the regions. They believe that this will result in genuine changes. She stressed that gender-related issues should not be dependent on any government’s goodwill.

“For that reason we want the issue to be reflected in the legislation,” Rusetskaia said.

Oxfam’s Tamar Vashakidze told The Messenger that the project enjoys the Prime Minister’s support. She admitted that it has no vital importance whether it will be a commission or a council formed in the Sakrebulos.

“Most important is that the structure will care about the presence of women in state bodies, encourage women’s participation in the political process and be involved in budgetary issues,” Vashakidze said.