Women human rights defenders involved in activism in Georgia are set to be honoured in Tbilisi in the latest edition of the Kato Mikeladze Award, with the awards ceremony organised by Women’s Fund in Georgia set to select the recipient out of 10 nominees on Monday.
Designed to highlight the significance of the work of women human rights defenders, and promote them as "role models for a younger generation of women", the occasion will invite the nominees to speak about their experiences, visions and societal barriers they have had to overcome.
Set to open with a video address by Mariam Kajaia, the 2020 recipient of the award, the event will then see UN Women and UNDP programme officials speak before the selected activists are introduced in the occasion.
Activist Nino Baisonashvili works in promotion of feminist values and is co-founder of Femina fund. Photo via Women's Fund in Georgia.
This year's nominees for the prize are:
- Meri Arkhoshashvili - former advisor on gender issues to the office of the central Georgia's Kareli Municipality. Arkhoshashvili worked on compiling and implementing a five-year gender action plan for the locality. She was also involved in projects addressing women's needs in villages adjacent to the administrative boundary line separating the Georgian-controlled territory from the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region.
- Nino Baisonashvili - founder and manager of Femina fund, involved in providing volunteer support to socially underprivileged women as well as survivors of abuse, students and single mothers. The fund also involves women in programmes for enabling women to develop professional skills through courses.
- Tozu Gulmamedli - activist working with women in ethnic minorities, and founder of the Iormughanlo Community Centre that provides youth in minority communities with opportunities for development and empowerment.
- Esma Gumberidze - activist and author whose work is focused on challenges facing disabled women, their involvement in politics, access to educations, and more. Previously serving as an ambassador for the European Democracy Youth Network, Gumberidze now mentors the next generation of youth in the position, and is a co-host of the Feminstream podcast.
- Baia Pataraia - human rights defender who has since 2013 headed the Sapari non-governmental organisation involved in work across Georgia on issues of early marriage, domestic violence, sexual harassment and more. Pataraia has worked to provide professional training on gendered violence and discrimination to public service professionals including judges, lawyers and police officers, and is founder of the Women's Movement non-formal feminist group.
Tozu Gulmamedli has contributed to providing opportunities for development and empowerment for youth in ethnic minorities. Photo via Women's Fund in Georgia.
- Eliso Rukhadze - lawyer who has represented women and girl survivors of violence at Sapari institution since 2017, and worked to contribute to resocialisation and economic empowerment of her beneficiaries. Specialising in underage law, violence against women, and domestic violence, she has also provided training in legislative strategies for gender equality and for regulations in eliminating violence against women.
- Rusa Sakhechidze - founder of the Cognitive Center of Georgia non-governmental organisation, Sakhechidze has worked with youth from ethnic, sexual and religious minority communities in western Georgia's Adjara province. Sakhechidze has been active in using informal education for raising awareness on topics including sexual and reproductive health and rights, feminism and equality, while also contributing to creation of safe spaces for women and girls.
- Ketevan Shubashvili - Head of the Equality Department at the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia, Shubashvili leads work on studying cases of gender equality and preparing recommendations for both the public and private sectors. She also teachers international human rights law for master's degree programmes and leads trainings on equality.
- Leila Suleimanova - Head of the Azerbaijani Women of Georgia since 1997, human rights defender, gender researcher, Orientalist and teacher, Suleimanova has worked on women and girls' rights in ethnic minority communities, on matters of gender equality and economic empowerment of women.
- Lika Tsuleiskiri - involved in civic and queer activism, Tsuleiskiri was part of the Tbilisi Pride organisation, with her work focused on empowering mothers of queer individuals and fostering their acceptance for their children. She has worked to "unite mothers [...] against the homophobic, hostile and violent environments".
Lika Tsuleiskiri is one of the nominees for this year's prize for her work with mothers of queer individuals. Photo via Women's Fund in Georgia.
These nominees will be presented to an audience that will include United Nations dignitaries Kaori Ishikawa - UN Women Country Representative to Georgia - and Nick Beresford, Resident Representative in Georgia for the United Nations Development Programme.
The Kato Mikeladze Award is named after a Georgian feminist and activist who published articles and led activism on women's rights and gender equality in Georgia between the late 19th century and the 1920s.
The 2021 edition of the awards are held as part of the Global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Known as 16 Days, the campaign has brought together more than 6000 organisations in about 187 states since its inception in 1991.