Several local and international women’s rights groups have submitted a draft law to Georgia’s Parliament which would introduce quotas for the number of women in parliament. It was accompanied by signatures from more than 37,000 Georgian citizens supporting the bill.
The activists claim that women are underrepresented in politics, and the bill aims to address this with amendments to two organic laws — the Electoral Code and the Law on Political Unions of Citizens. It would change the laws ‘temporarily’ to enhance women's political participation.
The draft law would force political parties and election blocs to include an equal number of men and women in their election lists. If a political party did not meet this criteria, they would be denied registration for elections.
Georgia’s parliament will first decide whether or not they will consider the draft law, and if they go ahead it will be passed to the relevant parliamentary committees. Finally, if the committees give the green light, the bill will go before a parliamentary vote.
Women’s rights organisations along with Georgia’s Public Defender have claimed that the Georgian government has not taken significant measures to promote gender equality, and no positive changes have been seen in recent years.
[Read on OC Media: Georgia’s Public Defender says women excluded from politics]
According to a poll conducted by the National Democratic Institute in 2014, 64% of respondents said that there is no gender equality in Georgia, while 70% said that at least 30% of MPs in parliament should be women.
Despite this, the overall number of women MPs has seen slight increases with every new parliament. In the 2008 elections, 7% of MPs elected were women; this increased to 12% in the next assembly in 2012. There are currently 24 women MPs, which is 16% of parliament.
According to the 2016 Global Gender Gap report from the World Economic Forum, Georgia ranks 114th out of 144 in terms of women’s participation in politics.