University students dive into gender equality challenges and propose solutions

Date: Thursday, October 17, 2019

Reaching out to young people is an essential part of promoting women and men’s equal opportunities and fighting gender-based discrimination in the long term. Supporting their innovative ideas may transform the workplace into a better environment for all.

Students are tasked to prepare presentations of their ideas to the jury of university and private sector representatives. One of the student groups' ideas at Ilia State University was for companies to create “baby rooms” as an innovative childcare option for employees
Students are tasked to prepare presentations of their ideas to the jury of university and private sector representatives. One of the student group's ideas at Ilia State University was for companies to create "baby rooms" as an innovative childcare option for employees; Photo: Giorgi Shengelia

In October and November 2019, UN Women is collaborating with universities on raising students’ awareness of the gender inequality challenges that stand in the way of women’s economic empowerment in Georgia. The methodology applied at the events is action-oriented: Students are not only guided to understand the key challenges but are also tasked to develop innovative solutions to the problems. At the end of the events, the student groups present their proposals for consideration by university and private sector representatives.

The themes of the events are selected together with the universities based on their interests and priorities. The first event, held at Ilia State University in Tbilisi on 11 October, focused on increasing women’s representation in non-traditional fields of study and work. Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University chose to focus their event on the eradication of sexual harassment at universities and workplaces. Their event was held on 17 October 2019.

Students work in groups of three to five to develop their proposals for the universities and companies
Students work in groups for three to five to develop their proposals for the universities and companies; Photo: Makho Darubandeli

“Our group wants to create a mobile application through which a university’s students, lecturers and employees are required to provide information on their experiences at the university anonymously,” explained Anna Putkaradze, a student of international relations in Batumi. “The purpose is to help universities assess the environment at higher education institutions.”

The events are attended by private sector representatives with an interest in promoting gender equality and new ideas for empowering women in the workplace and in communities. The Ilia State University event’s jury for identifying the ideas with the most potential included representatives of the Adjara Group Hospitality, Dasta Records Management, Dio and Silknet, while the ideathon at Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University was joined by APM Terminals Poti, School Euro-2000 and Financial Experts Corporation.

The university events are part of UN Women’s campaign work in the project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia” supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The third university event will take place at Business and Technology University in November. The focus will be on promoting women’s engagement in ICT and entrepreneurship.