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UN Women reports on progress of the world’s women – where does Georgia stand?

By Levan Abramishvili
Wednesday, July 3
Last week, UN Women published a new flagship report, “Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World.”

Anchored in global data, innovative analysis and case studies, the report shows the diversity of families around the world and provides robust recommendations to ensure that laws and policies support today’s families and meet the needs of all their members, especially women and girls, with analysis of what it would cost to implement them.

There were several trends observed all over the world, including:

• The age of marriage has increased in all regions, while birth rates have declined, and women have increased economic autonomy;

• Globally, a little over one third (38 per cent) of households are couples living with children; and extended families (including other relatives) are almost as common (27 per cent);

• The vast majority of lone-parent families, which are 8 per cent of households, are led by women, often juggling paid work, child-rearing and unpaid domestic work. Same-sex families are increasingly visible in all regions.

As the report shows, families can be places of care, but can also bring conflict, inequality and, far too often, violence. Today, three billion women and girls live in countries where rape within marriage is not explicitly criminalized. But injustice and violations take other forms as well. In one out of five countries girls do not have the same inheritance rights as boys, while in others (a total of 19 countries) women are required by law to obey their husbands. Around one third of married women in developing countries report having little or no say over their own healthcare.

Women continue to enter the labour market in large numbers, but marriage and motherhood reduce their labour force participation rates, and the income and benefits that come with it. Globally, just over half of married women aged 25-54 are in the labour force, compared to two-thirds of single women, and 96 per cent of married men, new data in the report shows. A major driver of these inequalities is the fact that women continue to do three times as much unpaid care and domestic work as men in the absence of affordable care services.

In the report, Georgia is grouped in the Northern Africa and Western Asia region. According to the report, “unlike any other region, more than half of households (59%) are made up of couples with children (of any age, including adult children). The vast majority of children under 15 years of age (70.3%) live with two parents.”

On the regional level, as of 2018, out of 24 countries, only Georgia with Turkey and Cyprus have explicit legislation criminalizing marital rape.

In the region, between around 1990 and around 2010, women’s age at first marriage increased from 23.1 to 25.4 years, while men’s age increased from 26.8 to 29.1. According to the report, “women’s educational attainment and paid work opportunities are among the factors driving the significant increases in their age at first marriage.”

An analysis produced for the report found that most countries could implement a package of policies, including income support throughout the life course, healthcare, and care services for children and older persons for less than 5 per cent of GDP.

“Ensuring that families serve as a home for equality and justice is not only a moral imperative, but essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world’s most comprehensive agenda to ensure human progress,” reads the report.

The Progress of the World’s Women report series, a periodic thematic investigation of women's rights since 2000, seeks to spur change in laws, policies and programmes, creating an enabling environment for women and girls to realize their rights.

Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020 coincides with UN Women’s “Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future” campaign—in the lead up to the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995, which is considered to be one of the most visionary agendas for the empowerment of women and girls, everywhere. Despite some progress, many challenges remain for women’s rights.

The full report can be found at the UN Women official website,