Addressing an international conference on gender equality in Tbilisi on Tuesday, Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili expressed hope that “efforts” undertaken by his government to increase women’s political participation will translate into concrete results when Georgia elects new parliament next year.
He did not elaborate, but in September the parliamentary committee for human rights gave a go-ahead to formal initiation of a bill, which, if approved, would set mandatory quotas for women to help increase the number of female members in the legislative body.
“We have undertaken important steps for increasing women’s representation in politics and I hope that these efforts will be reflected in next year’s parliamentary elections,” Garibashvili told the international high-level conference Achieving Gender Equality–Challenges and Opportunities in the European Neighbourhood Policy Region.
EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who is visiting Tbilisi after trip to Ukraine, has also addressed the conference.
Speaking at a reception held in the presidential palace for the conference participants on on November 9, President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who has voiced his support for quota system previously, reiterated that there is a need “for stable system that would guarantee a real gender balance.” In this context, President Margvelashvili, who declared 2015 the Year of Women, mentioned legislative proposal on quota system that is submitted to the Parliament.
There are two proposals for consideration before the Georgian Parliament – the one, which was submitted by a group of civil society organizations, offers introduction of “zipper” system, where male and female candidates would appear alternately on party lists of MP candidates for the next year’s parliamentary elections, and another one, sponsored by two GD ruling coalition lawmakers, according to which political parties must place a woman in every third position on their list of MP candidates.
The first one, if approved, will result in increasing share of female legislators in the next parliament from current 11.3% to at least 25%.
The second one, which was formally registered as a bill on November 9 and which has more chances of being endorsed than the first one, will result in increasing share of female MPs to at least 16.6%.
Currently there are 17 female lawmakers in 150-seat Parliament; the number will increase to 18 after a winner of MP by-election in Sagarejo joins the legislative body.
77 seats in the Parliament are allocated based on proportional, party-list system and remaining 73 seats are distributed to majoritarian MPs from single-mandate constituencies.
A draft of declaration, which the participants of the Tbilisi conference on gender equality plan to adopt, “acknowledges the need to take further concrete action to ensure that women are increasingly represented and take part in political and economic lives… among others by application of temporary special measures, including mandatory quotas.”