Measures to increase women’s participation as political party candidates in Georgia were the focus of a three-day event co-organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Tbilisi from 25 to 27 April 2012.
On the opening day, a roundtable discussion brought together 30 leaders from Georgia’s main political parties to discuss the measures political parties can voluntarily adopt to recruit and promote women as party decision-makers and candidates for public office.
Marcin Walecki, the Chief of ODIHR’s Democratic Governance Unit, referring to ODIHR’s baseline study, Gender Equality in Elected Office: A Six-Step Action Plan, said that Georgia has among the lowest levels of women’s representation in parliament in the OSCE region.
He spoke about several measures that could help increase the number of women selected as party candidates: “Parties could adopt voluntary targets for women’s representation on party lists and in decision-making bodies, or develop transparent procedures for ensuring the equitable allocation of party resources among female and male candidates.”
“Political parties need to recognize that they play a major role in supporting women’s candidacy for public office,” said Rusudan Kervalishvili, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia.
The roundtable discussion was followed by a two-day seminar meant to strengthen the leadership skills and political campaigning capacity of female political leaders.
The event was organized in co-operation with the Central Election Commission of Georgia and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.