First-ever National Conference on Gender Equality held in Georgia
The gender equality and empowerment of women agenda is continuously prioritized and addressed as an integral and critical part of Georgia’s democratic and sustainable development. In order to realize this priority, it is very significant that the relevant stakeholders join forces around one aspiration and facilitate societal development by enhancing the quality of human rights protection and supporting equality.
The National Conference on Gender Equality, held on 15 December by the United Nations Country Team’s Gender Theme Group, focused precisely on illustrating how important the gender equality and empowerment of women agenda is. The event was dedicated to the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign and was conducted in partnership with the Government of Georgia and civil society organizations.
“Working towards greater equality and women’s empowerment means that we are tackling the most widespread social inequality and injustice there is in today’s world, as women and girls in all their diversity represent the majority of humankind,” remarked Dr. Sabine Machl, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Georgia. “This also means we are attempting to bring about a novel social reality that is better because it is based on the values of human rights, respect for human dignity, equality and inclusion—a reality that enables the realization of the full potential of women, men, boys and girls.”
The first-ever National Conference on Gender Equality was attended by representatives of the legislative and executive branches of the Government, the diplomatic corps, international and local non-governmental organizations and the media, as well as women’s rights advocates.
Mr. Archil Talakvadze, Vice-Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, addressed the participants of the conference and remarked: “Gender equality is by all means a priority for the Government of Georgia. We clearly see the challenges and barriers women face in politics and in life, in general, and thus, we consider eliminating these barriers our responsibility. Enhancing reforms in this direction has never been more urgent than today, when gender equality is one of the 12 recommendations put forth to Georgia on its path to receiving European Union candidacy. The Parliament of Georgia will do its best to fulfil these recommendations and is, therefore, ready to proceed with work in active collaboration with international development partners and non-governmental organizations.”
Mr. Ulrik Tideström, Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia, spoke about Sweden’s efforts to achieve gender equality and remarked: “Georgia has every chance to continue being a front runner towards a more modern and equal society in this part of Europe. A society that remains attractive to your brilliant youth. Where everyone has the same potential to shape their own lives. You can do it. And we can do it. Let’s keep doing it together.”
Participants of the conference held discussions on the efforts to enhance women’s participation in politics and eliminate femicide and violence against women in politics. Moreover, discussions focused on such issues as enhancing prevention and response mechanisms to sexual violence against women in times of peace and war, using education as the primary medium to combat gender-based discrimination and harmful practices, implementing maternity benefit reform and many more. The event was held within the scope of Phase III of the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality with the support of Sweden.