EU, NGOs and Gender Equality Council Discuss an Action Plan for 2021 - Women in Europe for a Common Future






EU, NGOs and Gender Equality Council Discuss an Action Plan for 2021

The Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia has presented an action plan for 2021 to civil society for feedback and further cooperation. A workshop organised by WECF Georgia with the financial support of the EU was dedicated to draft main priorities and cooperation areas between the Parliament and Civil Society in terms of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in particular.

Empowering women all over the world is the main priority of The European Union. For this purpose a comprehensive approach, development of women’s businesses, inclusion of women from ethnic minorities and women with disabilities, is essential”, says Ms Dominika Skubida, Program Manager of the EU Delegation to Georgia. She emphasizes the benefits of women’s economic empowerment for the country in future and the urgency of starting this direction for well-functioning democracy. 

Baia Pataraia, Executive Director of the Union “Safari” focused on the redefinition of economic violence and introducing comprehensive approaches for addressing this issue. She named sharing experience from abroad and designing strategies, such as supporting the victims of economic/domestic violence with housing, providing them with necessary knowledge and skills to plan their budget and start business. She also mentioned the importance of incorporating studies on gender-based violence in the school curriculums.

Pursuing good practice of gender mainstreaming of legislation by the Gender Equality Council was highlighted by Ekaterine Skhiladze, Deputy Public Defender. She also stressed on the importance of coordination between Gender Equality Councils in the regions. As a joint platform for exchanging needs and practices in the different regions of the country would be of great benefit for effective cooperation.  

Ida Bakhturidze, Program Coordinator of WECF Georgia and facilitator of the meeting agreed on the major importance of coordination mechanisms between Gender Equality Councils in the regions and, in addition, initiated creating a working group that will focus specifically on women's economic empowerment together with the parliament. According to her, a unified view of the government and civil society on this aspect is still missing.

Raisa Liparteliani, Deputy Chairperson of the Georgian Trade Unions Confederation accentuated the following aspects of women’s economic empowerment: challenges in maternity leave, decent employment, unequal distribution of women and men in employment regardless of the level of education, unpaid domestic work and care economy, feminisation of informal and low-paid sectors, gender pay gap and accumulative pension reform that leaves women in even more poverty. She mentioned the positive changes in legislation in this regard, but referred to remaining gaps and the ways of addressing them in this 2021 action plan. Raisa Lipateliani commented on equal access to paid maternity leave for employees in the public and private sector despite the counterarguments.

The Deputy Chairperson of GUTC indicated also on the significance of introducing a minimum wage, since women are employed in the most low-paid sectors. She suggested the initiation of encouraging measures for formalisation of the informal business sector, as women take up the major workforce in the informal sector. This in turn leads to low accumulation of the pension. 

Ana Pashalishvili, Project Manager at UN Women Georgia presented recent surveys on the main obstacles to women's economic empowerment. She mentioned existing stereotypes, women’s economic inactivity in the reproductive age due to inefficient care systems, unequal distribution of domestic work among men and women, economic violence and problems in maternity leave. She referred to several sectors, such as LEPLs, agriculture and innovation agencies, small and medium businesses and agroturism where extension of existing empowering mechanisms are especially important.

In the last part of the event, Nino Tsilosani, Chairperson of the Gender Equality Council of the parliament of Georgia introduced the draft version of the action plan. In referring to latest improvements in the legislation she thanked the civil society representatives for being the co-authors of these changes and listed the following topics that will be on their action plan in 2021.

In this regard they plan to evaluate the implementation of activities by the Gender Equality Council in 2020. They also plan to continue gender mainstreaming of the legislation, working on improvement and monitoring of the mechanisms against sexual harassment, analysis of gender budgeting in the municiaplities, highlighting the prevention of violence against girls, reducing the impact of the pandemic on women in informal sector, women’s economic empowerment, unpaid domestic work and gender pay gap. 

Nino Tsilosani mentioned that due to upcoming local elections 2021 will be a shorter working year. She expressed hope to have more meetings with NGOs during this period.

Attendees confirmed their readiness to support the Gender Equality Council in specific issues with their resources and expertise. They agreed on further meetings on women’s economic empowerment throughout the year and joint efforts in this regard.

The meeting was organised in the framework of the EU-funded project “Job Equality: Equal, Inclusive and Safe WorkPlace in Georgia” implemented by Women’s Fund in Georgia, Women Engage for a Common Future - Georgia, Kvemo Kartli Media and the Organisation For Rights and Education.

The project is a part of the program European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights for Georgia. It advocates for increasing gender equality on local and national level – to eliminate gender discrimination at the workplace and ensure equal pay, to create safe and healthy working conditions.

This article has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the WECF Georgia and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.