Georgian women push for inclusive and gender-equal policies

The Women Councillors Forum pledges to pay greater heed to women’s participation in public life

Posted January 25, 2022

Photo: Nino Zedginidze/UNDP

Women’s representation in municipal councils grew almost two-fold as a result of the 2021 local elections in Georgia, reaching a historical 24 percent. In the aftermath of elections, the Women Councillors Forum uniting over 490 women members of municipal councils gathered at an annual conference to discuss the new opportunities brought on by the increased number of women in elective self-government bodies and specific steps to be taken to bring women’s perspective to the local and national agenda.

The event brought together women members of local councils from all regions of Georgia, and representatives from the Georgian Government, Parliament, political parties, civil society and international organizations. It discussed women’s role in advancing local politics as well as cooperation between the Parliament’s Gender Equality Council and the municipal Gender Equality Councils.

The forum was organised by the Municipal Service Providers’ Association (MSPA) of Georgia and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It was supported by the Government of Sweden and the International Republican Institute.

“Women politicians are bringing a range of experiences and perspectives to the table – be it on social services, poverty reduction, employment or protection of the environment. We hope that newly elected women will lead on those issues to deliver great results for the Georgian society,“ said UNDP Deputy Head Anna Chernyshova.

“The 2021 elections were a significant step towards more women in local politics. I hope this trend continues in future elections at all levels. It is equally important that the voices and perspectives of women politicians are heard in the public debate and impact the political decision-making on the same terms as for male politicians. Sweden has for over two decades been supporting women’s rights and empowerment in Georgia, including in politics, and will continue to do so. Gender-equal and inclusive participation in politics means a stronger democracy and better policies in all areas and is something that the Georgian voters are increasingly calling for. It also contributes to Georgia’s European integration,” noted Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia Ulrik Tideström.,” noted Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia Ulrik Tideström.

The other speakers at the Forum included Nino Tsilosani, Chair of the Parliamentary Gender Equality Council; Niko Tatulashvili, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Georgia on Human Rights Issues; Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia; and John DiPirro, IRI Resident Program Director.

The Women Councillors’ Forum was established in 2013, with support from UNDP and Sweden. It serves as a cooperation platform encouraging Georgian women to become more active in public life and local decision-making. The work of the Forum responds to the aspirations of almost two-thirds of Georgia’s population that,  according to the UNDP’s survey, think that greater involvement of women in politics would benefit the country.

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