Panel discussion held in Zugdidi on girls’ empowerment in sports


Panel discussion on girl's empowerment in sports. Photo: The Association Merkuri
Panel discussion on girl's empowerment in sports. Photo: The Association Merkuri

The empowerment of girls in sports and the elimination of various barriers, including sexual harassment and discriminatory gender stereotypes, have become of particular relevance globally in recent years. Sports federations and unions, media representatives and, of course, the female athletes and girls themselves are now speaking up about this topic and highlighting the severity of the problem.

The discussion about the safety of women and girls in sports has started in Georgia as well, and there are already court decisions on cases of sexual harassment. Based on the current significance of the topic, UN Women is implementing various initiatives with its partners to empower women and girls in sports in Georgia. The panel discussion was one of them, taking place on 20 October in Zugdidi as part of IdeaFest.

Tamar Kapanadze, lawyer at the NGO Partnership for Human Rights; Tsitsino Shengelia, UN Women’s programme assistant in Samegrelo; Nodar Andguladze, Player Welfare Director for the Georgian Rugby Union; Salome Makasarashvili, rugby player and game commissioner; and footballers Lamara Babaiani and Megi Ejibia participated in the discussion.

The participants discussed a variety of current issues, including the challenges and barriers faced by women and girls in various sports, and spoke about sexual harassment as one of the burning problems. In addition, the speakers shared with the audience their practices on promoting a safe and violence-free environment for women and girls in sports, as well as discussed what role the local governments can play to empower the regions’ local women and girl athletes.

“For me, as a woman who has been through this, it is important to provide easier access to [information] and prioritize the topics about women’s safety and engagement in sports, so that the athletes, coaches, general staff and the public are informed the right way. This is exactly what the objective of this meeting was,” Ms. Babaiani said after the discussion.

The panel discussion aimed at raising awareness on the forms of violence and other barriers faced by women and girls in sports, demonstrating the significant contribution that sports can make to their empowerment, and promoting public discussion on these topics.

The event was held within the framework of the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality (UNJP4GE), with generous support of Sweden.