Women’s political participation in the 2016 parliament will remain low
The working group for Women’s Political Participation in Georgia presented initial results of gender analysis of parties’ lists for the upcoming parliamentary elections during a press conference on September 12, 2016. On September 8, 2016, electoral subjects submitted their final lists to the Central Election Commission for the October 8 parliamentary elections. The working group performed gender analysis of lists of the following electoral subjects: the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia, the United National Movement, Usupashvili – Republicans, Paata Burchuladze – State for the People, Irakli Alasania – Free Democrats, Nino Burjanadze – Democratic Movement, and Davit Tarkhan Mouravi, Irma Inashvili – Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, United Opposition.
Women representation remains low in party lists for proportional elections and for single-member districts, contrary to pledges made by political party leaders for improving women representation without mandatory gender quotas.
The ruling party has four women among top ten of its candidates and much fewer women in subsequent groups of ten candidates.
We must note that for the 2016 parliamentary elections, neither the ruling party nor the largest parliamentary opposition party has invoked the provision of the Law on Political Unions of Citizens that provides financial incentives for political parties for having at least 30% of candidates of a different sex in the group of every 10 candidates. The only parties that have benefitted from the provision are the Republican Party and the Free Democrats.
Representation of women nominated as majoritarian candidates remains extremely low – out of 368 candidates nominated by 7 electoral subjects, only 44 are women (11.9%).
Unfortunately, places of women candidates on the party lists remains a problem, and they are often near the bottom, with less likelihood of winning (for instance, Paata Burchuladze – State for the People has total of 34 women on the list but none of them are in the top 20).
The analysis suggests that the financial incentive tool is ineffective and does not serve to advance our ultimate goal – increasing representation of women in the legislature. Women remain underrepresented in the parliamentary lists, often near the bottom of the lists with less likelihood of winning. It is safe to assume that women representation in the 2016 parliament will be lower that the international standard. This has reiterated importance of mandatory gender quotas. Quotas with other measures are vital for fast-tracking women’s participation in politics.
The working group continues advocating for a short-term mandatory measure - gender quotas, in an attempt to encourage the next parliament to ensure increased participation of women in the 2017 local self-government elections.
The working group for Women’s Political Participation in Georgia, established in February 2014, has been advocating to increase women’s political participation. The working group submitted a legislative proposal for mandatory gender quotas. Had the proposal been approved, it would have ensured a minimum of 25% representation of women in the 2016 parliament.