Busy restaurants and cafes are a common sight in Georgia, and CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data suggest that restaurants and cafés have become busier over the last five years. While 27% of Georgia’s population reported going to a restaurant in 2012, five years later, 50% did. There is an upward trend for both men and women, yet the data also suggests there is a significant gender gap. Taking into account other social and demographic characteristics, women are significantly less likely to go to restaurants than men.
Note: According to the instructions to this question, restaurants included pizzerias, khinkali houses, McDonald’s, etc.
A number of factors, including settlement type, age, social status, economic condition, and gender influence whether an individual goes out to eat. In many respects, the findings are hardly surprising: residents of Tbilisi are more likely to go to restaurants compared to residents of villages. Irrespective of whether a person reports being employed or unemployed, they are more likely to go to a restaurant than those outside the labour force, i.e. those who are not in work and are not looking for a job. Likewise, people living in households with low reported expenditures per month ($250 or less) are less likely to go to a restaurant. Also unsurprisingly, age is negatively related to eating out: the older a person is, the less likely they are to go out to eat. Actual and perceived social status show the opposite effects of age: the more years a person spent studying in formal educational institutions, the higher their chances to have gone to a restaurant. In the same manner, the higher along a hypothetical ten-step ladder representing society a person places themselves, the more likely they are to visit restaurants.
Note: The chart displays the effect of each factor on an individual’s probability of reporting they went to a restaurant during the past six months. Diamonds are point estimates, whereas lines show 95% confidence intervals. The further the diamond is from the red dotted line, the larger the effect. The few diamonds right on the red dotted line are reference categories for a variable. Rural settlements, men, people outside the active labour force, and individuals who did not report household spending are reference categories. Every other category should be interpreted in relation to the corresponding reference category (e.g. capital residents in relation to rural residents, women in relation to men, etc.)
While all the above factors influence whether a person goes to a restaurant, gender has the largest effect of all. All else equal, women are about 10 percentage points less likely to go to a restaurant than men. Further analysis shows that more educated women are no more or less likely than less educated women to go to restaurants, women from relatively wealthy households are not different from women from poorer households, and so on.
When looking at the impact of other socio-demographic factors across the two gender groups, women are less likely to go to restaurants simply because they are women. The chart below demonstrates that if we pick a man and a woman of the same age between the ages of 20 and 78, the man will always have a higher chance to have reported going to a restaurant.
Similarly, if we take two people of a different gender, but identical years of education, the man will still be more likely to have eaten at a restaurant in the last six months than a women. Notably, the significant difference in terms of years of education is maintained in the group who studied for 10–16 years, which constitutes 84% of the population according to the 2017 Caucasus Barometer survey.
Employment status and a household’s expenditure do not entirely diminish the impact of gender either: while both men and women are equally likely to go to a restaurant if they do not belong to the active labour force, in the unemployed and employed groups, women are disadvantaged. Moreover, women from households that spent up to $400 in the month prior to the survey are also less likely to have eaten in a restaurant in the past six months. Interestingly, there is no gender difference in the group of relatively high spending (more than $400) as well as in the group which did not report their household expenditure.
The findings of this analysis suggest that gender is the single most important factor that predicts whether an individual will go to a restaurant in Georgia. Regrettably, women are disadvantaged in this regard compared to men of the same age, education, social-economic standing, and settlement type, demonstrating yet another form of gender inequality in Georgia.
Koba Turmanidze is CRRC-Georgia’s President. The views presented in this blog do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia, the National Democratic Institute, or any affiliated entity.