Georgia’s parliament has rejected a bill on mandatory gender quotas in parliament. The bill, put forward by several women’s rights groups and signed by 37,000 voters, would have required parties to field an equal number of men and women as candidates.
In its first plenary hearing on Friday, the bill gained the support of only 66 MPs, while it needed at least 75 in order to proceed. After the vote, parliamentary chair Irakli Kobakhidze announced that the ruling Georgian Dream party planned to present a new bill on gender quotas next week, which would guarantee at least 25% of MPs to be women.
Several local and international women’s rights groups submitted the draft law to Georgia’s Parliament on 13 June 2017. If passed, it would have forced political parties and election blocs to include an equal number of men and women on their election lists. If a party did not meet these criteria, they would have been denied registration for elections.
But Kobakhidze said there was ‘resistance regarding some issues’ in the bill.
‘I’d like to say that the next week, the Georgian parliament will get back to the gender quota issue’, Kobakhidze said. ‘As for the 2024 parliament, at least ⅓ [women’s] representation will be guaranteed there. The parliamentary majority will present the bill’, he said.
Only 24 of Georgia’s 150 MPs are women, 16% of parliament. A recent poll by the National Democratic Institute suggested that 49% of Georgia’s population supported the initiative to establish a mandatory quota system. Only 44% believed that the best distribution of parliamentary seats would be 50/50 for both genders, according to the poll.
[Read more about the gender quota bill on OC Media: Rights groups submit Women’s quota law to parliament]