Monday, August 04, 2008

Georgia: Women's Participation in Politics

Women’s participation at all levels of elections in Georgia is diminishing. As the Caucasus Women’s Network (CWN) reports, women in Georgia were less represented in terms of candidates in the last parliamentary elections than in any previous parliamentary elections in Georgia’s democratic history. On the other hand, women’s low political participation in elected bodies belies women’s activeness in civil society institutions, where females appear to be very active.

Let’s dig deeper: during the last parliamentary elections women composed 28% of all parties’ election lists (485 out of 1757); no woman in any party was listed as the number one candidate; only three parties had women within their first five candidates.

The inequality of both women and men standing in election led to an even smaller percentage of women getting a seat in the Georgian parliament: eight from the party list and only one as a majoritarian candidate. Currently only 6% of MPs are women.

Recently CRRC conducted a survey for Transparency International-Georgia on public attitudes to see what Georgians think of their Parliament. According to the TI data, 64% of those polled agree with the statement that women should have strong representation in parliament. But about 23% of women and 26% of men think that parliament is not the place for women. These misogynists can tip the scale for majoritarian candidates, but what is the answer to the diminishing number of candidates from the party lists? Anti women sentiment in the parties, a party culture? What do you think?

CWN came up with the number of suggestions in order to achieve equal representation of both genders in the legislative body. According to CWN, it is crucial to reach balance not only in the nominated lists but in the taken seats as well. CWN believes the best way to influence and motivate political parties to respect and implement principles of equality is setting sanctions on public funding: when a difference between the number of representatives of each gender goes beyond 2% (yes, two) of the total number of representatives, their political party will be penalized. For more details about CWN finding and policy recommendations visit their website.

If you want to know more about TI Survey, let us know. Some initial data snapshots and results are already available here.

2 comments:

HansG said...

Nana,

thanks for posting. That 2% proposal seems a little unusual, to say the least. Or did they get their numbers wrong and meant 20%? Even technically that will be difficult to get right and coordinate.

I personally never liked quotas, but does anyone one have other ways of increasing women's representation?

GL said...

It would be interesting to compare these numbers with Armenian, Azerbaijani and perhaps even Russian North Caucasian data.

I bet Georgia comparatively wouldn't look so bad.

Just for the record, I'm not in favor of quotas. I don't think they work, and even if they did, I think the inherent unfairness of quotas usually outweighs any potential benefit.

GL - GL.Mimino.Org