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Georgian Parliament Disapproves Draft on Gender Quotas

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, March 26
The Parliament of Georgia did not support the legislative initiative on Gender Quotas, proposed by the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) based in Georgia.

The draft failed to get votes on March 23 during the first hearing when only 66 MPs supported it and 14 MPs abstained, while the quorum was 75.

The initiated draft envisaged equal political representation between women and men and civil society organizations urged the Parliament to support legislative initiative backed by 37,455 signatures.

“More women in the Parliament means stronger Parliament, stronger Constitutional system and stronger democratic system, which means that the interests will be wider represented in the Parliament”, the Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze stated at the plenary session, adding Georgia takes the 130th place amongst the world countries according to women representation.

However, after the bill was disapproved by MPs, Kobakhidze said the Parliament would return to the issue again, and that the Parliamentary majority would initiate a new bill, which will have the same principle as the one presented by the NGOs.

“This will be a bill on gender quotas, which will have the same principle - Minimum 25% representation of women in the following Parliament. As for the 2024, there will be at least 1/3 representation of female MPs,” he added.

Part of the ruling Georgian Dream as well as opposition United National Movement MPs abstained from participating in the voting. None of the Russia-affiliated Patriots Alliance and the parliamentary minority European Georgia took part in the voting as well. The bill was not supported by an independent MP, Salome Zurabishvili too.

The legislative initiative was submitted to the Parliament of Georgia on 12 June 2017. It introduced mandatory requirement for parties and blocs to prepare gender balanced lists for elections where every other candidate is of a different sex, and replace any elected member who abandons his/her mandate with the next successful candidate on the party list who is of the same sex.

If it had been approved, share of women in the 2020 Parliament would have been at least 26%.

In the last parliamentary elections women were able to secure only 16% of seats in the legislature and they account for 13.46% of elected members of City Councils.

The NGOs remind that the obligation to ensure gender equality is established by many international agreements, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and updated EU-Georgia Association Agenda, which contain new obligations for Georgia, including the obligation to take active steps towards increasing women’s representation in political life and decision-making process.