Statement of local NGOs who are members of the Gender Task Force for Women’s Political Participation
On December 2, 2015, legal affairs committee of the parliament of Georgia voted down the bill initiated by the Gender Task Force for Women’s Political Participation on June 10, 2015. The legislative proposal introduced 50% gender quota for proportional party lists in parliamentary and local self-government elections, in order to ensure at least 25% women representation in the parliament of Georgia and increase number of women in Sakrebulos (local councils).
We regret that the parliamentary committee utterly disregarded the above initiative and by doing so, it went against Georgia’s international and national commitments, including the 2014 Rec. of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, expressly urging the Georgian government to utilize special measures to increase women’s political participation at national and local levels. The Committee’s refusal to support quotas for women also goes against the will of majority of Georgian voters to have the quota system – in particular, NDI’s polls in 2014 found that 68% of population supports gender quotas and wishes to see more women in Georgian politics.
In terms of gender balance in legislature, Georgia ranks 115th among 185 countries. In 2012 parliamentary elections women were able to secure only 12% of seats. The situation is more alarming at the local level, where women account for 11% of representatives.
Without gender quotas women representation in the parliament of Georgia may not increase following the 2016 elections or may even be reduced. Based on international standards, for their meaningful participation in political life, women should constitute at least a “critical minority” of 30% in legislature. This way, they will be able to influence decision-making process and policy formulation. Meaningful participation of women in representative bodies serves as one of the most important indicators and preconditions for gender equality, democratic justice and sustainable development.
In this light, we urge the parliament of Georgia to take into account the will of 68% of Georgian population, international commitments of Georgia, recommendations of international community and local civil society, and to adopt quota regulations ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections to ensure more adequate and fair representation of women in the legislature.