UN Women working to promote women’s property rights
Equal property rights and the principle of gender equality are protected by law in Georgia. Nevertheless, people are often guided by a harmful tradition according to which the owners of real estate may only be male. The problem is aggravated by the fact that women’s level of awareness about property rights, especially in the rural areas, is very low.
UN Women has begun to take effective steps to put into practice the principle of women’s empowerment, equal property rights and gender equality. The Memorandum of Understanding with the National Agency of Public Registry of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, signed by the Chairman of the Agency, Oleg (Bacho) Tortladze, and the UN Women Country Representative in Georgia, Kaori Ishikawa, on 15 March, serves this purpose.
Under the memorandum, UN Women will help the Agency make its services (including land registration services provided by the reform) become equally accessible to women and men, as well as promote agency policies and procedures, including gender equality, especially in the ownership and management of real estate. It is noteworthy that UN Women, with the help of its community mobilization initiative, will encourage increasing the awareness of rural women about the systemic registration of land and their participation in this process.
Currently, inequality in property ownership restricts women from receiving funding and starting or running a business with such loans, thereby restricting their development. It also causes property disputes during divorce proceedings, thus posing an additional obstacle that must be overcome by women who have experienced domestic violence.
“It is very important for women and men to be able to register as co-owners of real estate, to know the relevant procedures,” remarked Ms. Ishikawa. “One of the important focuses of this cooperation will be raising awareness and promoting women’s property rights.”
In addition, UN Women will provide technical support to the National Agency of Public Registry in implementing important initiatives such as conducting participatory gender audits, developing relevant recommendations, implementing sexual harassment prevention and response mechanisms in the workplace, generating gender-disaggregated data, and so on.
“The memorandum will allow us to plan and implement the process of integrating the principles of gender equality more effectively,” Mr. Tortladze noted.
Cooperation between the National Agency of Public Registry and UN Women is part of the UN Women project “Good Governance for Gender Equality in Georgia”, part of the Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative, supported by the Government of Norway.