Georgia becoming more gender sensitive but bias remains. What has changed in 7 years?

More than half of all Georgians – 63 per cent of women and 54 per cent of men – think Georgia has yet to achieve meaningful gender equality. Photo: UNDP Georgia., 17 Jun 2020 - 13:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia has become more gender sensitive since 2013, but bias still remains, reads the recent survey Men, Women and Gender Relations in Georgia: Public Perceptions and Attitudes released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with support from the Swedish government. 

The survey reads that overall, Georgian men and women do not have a ‘zero sum’ view of gender equality. 

They do not view women’s empowerment as depriving men of their rights. Since 2013, there has been a growing recognition that achieving gender equality is important, and more Georgians support the idea of gender equality today than six years ago,” said the survey. 

Taken from the survey.

More than half of all Georgians – 63 per cent of women and 54 per cent of men – think Georgia has yet to achieve meaningful gender equality.

 60 per cent are confident that greater involvement of women in politics would benefit their country. Whereas 59 per cent of men and 38 per cent of women believe that women’s main duty is to take care of their families. 

Both women and men in Georgia have become more favourable to gender equality over the past seven years, but women are discarding traditional stereotypes much faster than are men,” said the survey. 

According to the survey, reports of experiences of physical and sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner are generally rare in Georgia. However, when it comes to economic partner violence, one in five women reported having experienced it, and one in three men reported having perpetrated it. 

About one in four women had experienced emotional violence. Attitudes around partner violence are generally disapproving, but one in three men and one in four women agree that a woman cannot refuse to have sex with her husband, while half of all men believe that violence in the home is a private matter,” said the survey. 

On questions of sexual and reproductive health, the majority of all respondents believe decisions about contraception should be made jointly by the couple, ‘but many still felt that avoiding pregnancy was a woman’s responsibility.’

The survey reads that currently, the distribution of household work in Georgia is still starkly segregated by gender, with women doing the cooking, cleaning and childcare tasks in overwhelming numbers. 

Three out of four respondents say that women always perform basic care duties. However, the proportion of both women and men who see caregiving tasks as the mother’s responsibility declined substantially, from 81 per cent to 69 per cent for men, and from 76 per cent to 54 per cent for women. While seven years ago 87 per cent of men and 70 per cent of women agreed that final decisions in households belonged to men, in 2019 this view was shared by 68 percent of men and only 34 percent of women,” said the survey.

The survey reads that the perception of women’s role in business is also changing. While in 2013, 58 per cent of respondents said they thought men were better leaders in business than women, by 2019 this share had dropped to 39 per cent. 

Comparisons between data from 2013 and 2019 highlight promising changes both inside and outside the home, but continued attention and resources are needed to maintain and accelerate progress towards equality,” said the survey. 

UNDP Head Louisa Vinton said that attitudes are changing and it is ‘heartening to see the progress that Georgia has made over a fairly short time, “but equal rights for women are unfortunately still called into question, particularly by Georgian men,” she said. 

Lela Akiashvilli, the Prime Minister’s Advisor for Human Rights and Gender Equality, stated that ‘Georgian society is moving away from gender-biased views and attitudes towards achieving meaningful gender equality.’

However, she stated that more consistent and specific policies are needed to accelerate that progress and support greater equality in public life as well as in the distribution of household work.