Georgia: Empowering Rural Women and Girls through Increased Decision-Making Capacity
62nd Session of Commission on the Status of Women
Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls
Proposed Side-Event by UNDP Georgia and Permanent Mission of Georgia to the UN
12 March, 2018
Georgia enjoys the sound policies on gender equality which includes the bold constitutional provision to ensure the meaningful equality between men and women, the Gender Equality Law (2010) and the anti-discrimination legislation (2014). With the national machineries established at both legislative and executive level, Georgia has been striving to advance the gender equality agenda and make progress on sustainable development goals. Despite the progress achieved, significant inequalities persist: women remain under-represented in political decision-making process with only 15 and 13 percent of representation at national and local elected bodies falling behind the world average of 23 percent. Gender gaps are wide in economy too with women on average earning 34 percent less than men and 40 percent of women being outside the labor market. The Global Gender Gap report 2017 of the World Economic Forum puts Georgia at #74 out of 144 economies in relation to economic participation and opportunities. Inequalities affect rural women in different and more severe ways. Every second child in rural Georgia does not have an access to pre-school education. It is not only the issue for children’s development, but is a huge impediment to utilizing rural women’s potential in economic life. Unpaid care work, women in informal economy, lack of accesses to land and resources limit women’s ability to fully enjoy the economic benefits and contribute to creating the economic prosperity of their communities, society and the entire country.
Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment is at the heart of UNDP’s work in Georgia. To that end, UNDP Georgia works closely with local civil society groups to empower women and enhance their political and economic participation. UNDP also supports Vocational Education and Training Centers in regions offering free training courses to women on most demanded professions and facilitating their access to job opportunities. In addition, UNDP tries to improve women’s, including women farmers participation in rural development, and improve their knowledge and opportunities for income generation.
UNDP, along with UN Women, is also co-chairing the Women’s Economic Empowerment sub-group under the Gender Theme Group, aiming at better coordination of the development partner’s activities in this direction, as well as joint advocacy to support Georgian government’s greater efforts towards Gender equality and women’s empowerment.
UNDP has also jointly been supporting the Kato Mikeladze Awards for the second consecutive year through the UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality . The prize was initiated by Women’s Fund in Georgia in 2013 to honor women's rights activists and celebrate International Women Human Rights Defenders’ Day. This year, the prize was given to Ketevan Khidasheli, a women’s rights defender from rural area in Guria, Georgia. UNDP’s prize involves supporting Ms. Khidasheli’s participation at the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the official Georgian delegation. The First Vice-Speaker and Chair of the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia will be the had of the Georgian delegation to CSW 2018.
Side-Event: Empowering Rural Women and Girls through Increased Decision-Making Capacity
Given that the several streams of the UNDP Georgia work are very relevant with the upcoming session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), organizing a side event with the participation of the Georgian delegation to UN has been proposed. The 62nd session will take place at UN Headquarters in New York from 12 to 23 March 2018 under the overall theme: challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.
In light of positive developments around temporary special measures to enhance women’s political participation in Georgia, the name of the side event would encompass both the priority theme of the CSW, and women’s participation in pollical life and decision making.
A side event sponsored by UNDP and Permanent Mission of Georgia to the UN, in partnership with countries from different regions, would enhance the visibility of the progress Georgia and others have achieved in tackling the gender inequalities, and the challenges that remain to be addressed.
In consultations with the Permanent Mission of Georgia to the UN, and Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia, the following countries will be invited to co-sponsor the event on March 12, 2018: Sweden (in alternative, Ireland or Spain); Colombia (in alternative, El Salvador, or Uruguay); Ghana (in alternative, Namibia or Malawi), and Bangladesh (in alternative, Bahrain or Mongolia). The Swedish Embassy in Georgia is to confirm the participation of the Swedish Permanent Mission to the UN, while the Permanent Mission of Georgia will be reaching out to rest of the countries.