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Wednesday, 12 September 2007

12 09 2007

The current democratic processes of the South Caucasus resulted in restructuring of political and economic system and instruments, and management practice. Hence, the issue of the equal participation of  men and women in all spheres of social life has became important for development of the country. Joining women to political life and equal participation of men and women in a decision making process is particularly essential.

Implementation of Gender related projects is an imperative issue for defining the problems and finding solution. If we consider the local self-government elections, an attitude of Georgian and Armenian constituency is similar; identical are the barriers and the obstacles experienced by women, due to the social factors deeply rooted in tradition.

The project “Gender and South Caucasus” with the close cooperation with the Parliament of Georgia is being carried out by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The project is financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Government of Georgia. The basic strategy of the project is to promote the democratic development with the gender equality attainment. The key objective of the project is to promote Gender policy development and increase the number of women in the decision making process. Within the framework of the project, the first joint conference was organized with participation of Armenian delegation (including men) and Georgian female representatives of the local self-governments. The conference was carried out in Tbilisi, on 17th  of July 2007. The participants of the conference were representatives of Government agencies of Armenia and Georgia, representatives of the local self-government, members of Parliament, as well as international and local organizations. The conference participants discussed the existing problems and barriers in Georgia and Armenia. At the same time, female political participation at different levels and regional cooperation development strategy in the Caucasus was recognized by the participants.

Opinion Tamar Romelashvili

Tamar Romelashvili is Senior Specialist - Division of Freedom and Equivalence office of the Public Defender  of Georgia and Member of the Georgian Parliamentarian Council of Gender Equivalence

The Gender Equality Issues

Exercise of civil and political rights of men and women on equal terms is recognized by the Legislation of Georgia and Armenia. However, in spite of the declared equality, participation of women in the decision making process is still low. Participation of women in political processes is the main indicator of democracy. From this point of view very interesting picture arises concerning an accession of women to local self government. Parliament of Armenia, for example, consists of 9.2 % of female members, and local self governments count 6.5 %, while Parliament of Georgia (2004) counts of 9.4% of them. Representation of women in local self government has been reduced after the elections in 2006.  Specifically, as we consider the total number of Sakrebulo members (1734), only 197 female candidates (11.47%) gained the mandate, which is compared to the results of 14% in 1998, and compared to 11.9% in 2002. It is significant, that the local minorities do not take any part in a decision making process (only few women represent minorities). The analysis of the political parties of Georgia made obvious that active female representatives involved in political processes cannot influence on main priority resolution.

Women make up 30 % of female members of political parties, but the majority appears as an ordinary members, as yet there is still very little number of gender sensitive and motivated women, ready to take part in political discussions on gender issues. The participation of  women would make it less rough and more competent, that in turn would increase the culture of debates and political dialogue.

It is necessary that the definite procedure for selection of female candidates should be established, that in turn would balance the participation of men and  women in the election process.

The objective of the seminar was identification of those barriers and problems, that prevent active involvement of women in the political life of Georgia and Armenia, also, the discussion of those strategies, that would promote participation of women at various levels, the sharing of successful experience and foresight of the regional cooperation.  

Low awareness level of the role, that women can play in local self governments, participation of women in regional politics, those formal and non formal barriers, experienced by women on the political field, passive and non-coordinated cooperation of them – those were the main issues and experiences shared at the seminar.

 
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