Gender inequality: problems and challenges

“Women belong in the kitchen”, “women can’t drive”, “Girls should play with dolls and boys should play with trucks” – these and many other phrases are often heard in our daily lives. Every individual seeks equal status,  opportunities, and rights in society. However, it is a general observation that there is discrimination between humans. One vector of discrimination is along gender differences. 

Inequality based on gender is a concern that is widespread in the entire world. Even in the 21st century, men and women across the globe do not have equal privileges. For the past decades, Georgia has made significant progress in adopting antidiscrimination legislation and numerous policies in support of the protection and promotion of human rights. People are now becoming more aware of their rights and what they can do in a free society. 

However, gender stereotypes are still a significant challenge in the fight against inequality and it affects our everyday lives. Today, women in Georgia face many obstacles including gender-based violence, child marriage, economic disadvantages and exclusion from decision-making. Systemic problems are also reflected in statistics, for example: according to the report of the Public Defender, 151 women were killed between 2014 and 2018. Also, according to a special report prepared by the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia – “Early  Marriage – Challenges and Solutions” (2016) – in 2015, a 13-year-old child left school to start a family. Such data increases by age: 14 years – 16, 15 years – 65, 16 years – 143, and 183 children aged 17 dropped out of school in order to start a family.  The problems of women in Georgia are more complex than it seems at first glance. According to official statistics, Georgia is one of the leaders in gender selective abortions.  

Often, while discussing social integration, gender inequality, the issue of education, and violation of other women’s rights are mentioned. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation in this regard. Statistically, violence against women has increased in the past two years, many women lost their jobs, their source of income and were forced to become dependent on others. 

How can we, as a society, solve these problems? I think education should be the key area of focus. In the family, at school, at university, at work, and in other institutions, we should try to use gender-sensitive language, put gender issues on the agenda, take care of improving the education system, and give women’s economic development a boost.