Over 150 women local councillors from across Georgia gathered for their annual conference to discuss the increasing role of women in politics and decision-making, especially in the lead-up to elections.
Supported by UNDP and Sweden in partnership with the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia, the Women Councillors’ Political Forum brought together representatives from the Government, Parliament, civil society organizations, diplomatic missions, and international agencies.
H.E. Anna Lyberg, Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia; H.E. Meline Arakelian, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Georgia; and Douglas Webb, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, addressed the participants with welcoming remarks.
Nino Tsilosani, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Gender Equality Council, emphasized the significance of empowering women in prominent political roles through gender-sensitive legislation and policies.
The Forum featured dynamic panel discussions focused on the cooperation between political parties to promote gender equality in politics and the role of local councillors in crafting community-centric policies aimed at fostering gender equality. These discussions actively involved representatives from local governments and Members of Parliament spanning various political affiliations.
Following the implementation of mandatory electoral gender quotas in 2020, Georgian women increased their parliamentary representation from 14 to almost 20 percent. In 2021, women’s representation in local councils rose from 13.8 to 24 percent. However, even with these advancements, Georgian women hold only one-fifth of parliamentary seats and one-fourth of local council seats, significantly short of making a substantial impact on decision-making.
The annual Forum of Women Local Councillors serves as a dynamic political assembly advocating for increased women's representation in all aspects of political life in Georgia. Over the past decade, women councillors from various, often adversarial political backgrounds have worked together to address a range of urgent issues affecting their communities, from enhancing municipal public services to expanding childcare options and vocational training opportunities.
As Georgia prepares for parliamentary and local elections in 2024 and 2025, the Women Local Councillors’ Forum emerges as an avenue to facilitate discussion and collaboration among political stakeholders, integrating diverse perspectives into the political agenda.
The Sweden-funded UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality is a flagship initiative assisting Georgia in achieving meaningful gender equality in social, economic, and policy realms. The programme is jointly implemented by three UN agencies – UNDP, UNFPA, and UN Women.