Back Issues: Women and Men - Start 
Men and woman are equal - also in elections
Men and woman are equal, also in elections. Photo: flickr/Inklaar

The Georgian Young Lawyers Association and the NGO Women for Future published a report in 2006 (Reality: Women's Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities in Georgia), which states:

'… gender equality and the struggle for women's rights is considered important only for political correctness in the context of Georgia's integration in the European structures.'

Georgia's parliament counts 100 members, of which 6 are women, making for 6% representation. According to the 2008 World Classification of Women in National Parliaments, compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Georgia is the country with the lowest representation of female parliamentarians in Europe, followed by Albania (7%), Turkey (9%) and Azerbaijan (11%).

As for the government, only 1 out of 17 ministry portfolios is held by a woman: Khatuna Kalmaxelidze, Minister for Penitentiary and Probation.

Education does not explain this phenomenon of low political representation: there is no gender imbalance in terms of access to education. According to the Department of Statistics, in 1989 there were 121,000 women holding a higher education degree, as compared to 133,000 men. In 2002, these figures changed, pushing the share of women enrolled in higher education up to 52%, as compared to 48% for men.

In addition, the difference between the total number of employed women and men is not stark in 2005, there were 829,400 women and 915,000 men in the work force. In this context, however, one has to look into the structure of employment to see the main differences.

Women work mostly in the public sector and in agriculture, whereas the private sector is predominantly male-dominated. This has various implications for the wellbeing of women, as the public sector in Georgia is shrinking and the agricultural sector is not growing.

In addition, 44.5% of all employed women are between the age of 40 and 60. Employed women between 20-30 years old account for only 10% of all employed women.

Different studies indicate that women of childbearing age are less likely to be employed in the private sector due to the risk of having to take maternity leave from work.

Also, women are themselves reluctant to engage in employment, as the new Labour Code, passed in 2006, does not protect them if they wish to have children. According to this Labour Code, a woman can TAKE 126 calendar days of paid maternity leave; her reimbursement will come to 600 Georgian Laris, regardless of her normal salary. The reimbursement, however, is granted by the state meaning that a mother's employer is under no obligation to pay her a salary. If it does so, it is solely on the basis of the manager's good will. The overall employment situation is not good. In Georgia, 65% of all workers both women and men are 'self employed', meaning that they are mostly working in agriculture or other low income self-made jobs.

October 2008

 Back Issues: Women and Men - Start