Increased representation of women in Imereti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and Adjara municipal assemblies
Representation of women in political institutions is a challenge for Georgia. Transparency International Georgia presents information on representation of women in Imereti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and Adjara municipal assemblies. Based on the results of October 21st 2017 local election, representation of women in Imereti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and Adjara municipal halls increased - if previous elections in these three regions 9.9% of all mandates were allocated to women, this number increased to 12.7% in the October 21st 2017 elections.
Despite the fact that representation of women in 28 municipalities of all three researched regions increased by 3% points, political engagement of women in local representative institutions remains a significant challenge.
It is important that political parties, local self-government institutions take appropriate steps for further promotion of women’s engagement in political life.
According to the final acts published by the Central Election Committee, representation of women is the highest in Imereti - in 12 municipalities of this region out of total 379 mandates women received 58 (15.3%), followed by Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, where in 10 municipalities out of total 301 mandates women received 38 (12.6%). Similar to the 2014 municipal election results, representation of women was lowest in municipalities of Adjara Autonomous Republic - in 6 municipal halls, among total of 164 members only 17 (10.3%) were women.
It is noteworthy, that among the three researched regions, Adjara is the only region where the number of women elected based on majoritarian rule has decreased compared to 2014 results - in 2014 there were 5 female majoritarian member, while in 2017 this number decreased to 3. Imereti is the leader in this regard as well - in 2014 Imereti elected 17 female majoritarian members, while this year the number was 21. The number of female majoritarian members also increased compared to the previous elections from 8 to 11 in Samegrelo.
The number of women elected based on proportional lists increased in all three regions: in Imereti - from 26 to 37, in Adjara - from 8 to 14, and in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti - from 22 to 27.
Among 28 researched municipalities the highest representation of women is in Kharagauli (9 - 4 of which are majoritarian members), followed by Senaki and Tsalenjikha (8-8 female members), Khoni municipal hall has 7 female members. Keda and Abasha municipal halls have the lowest number of female mandates (1-1).
Diagram 1. Representation of women in municipal halls (Imereti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and Adjara) in 2014-2017.
In the municipal assemblies of Imereti region, more women are represented than in 2014 - in 2014 women received 11.6% of all mandates, in 2017 the number increased to 15.3%. Growth tendency is in the number of women elected based on proportional, as well as majoritarian rules. This year, the highest number of female members is still in Kharagauli municipal hall - out of total 35 mandates 9 were allocated to women. Compared to 2014, the number of women in Khoni municipal assembly increased 3.5 fold - out of total 28 members 7 are female. While the number of female members in Terjola and Sachkhere municipal halls decreased compared to 2014.
The number of female representatives increased in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti municipalities, compared to 2014. The highest number of female representatives are in Senaki (25%) and Tsalenjikha (26.6%) municipal assemblies - each institution has 8 female members. The highest increase in the number (16%) of female representatives is in Poti municipal assembly. The number of female members has not changes in Mestia and Chkhorotsku municipal halls, while it increased in other municipalities. Abasha municipal assembly has only one female member, Abasha is also the only region where the number of female representatives decreased (3.15%).
The number of female representatives in Adjara regional municipalities has increased based on the 2017 local election results, however the region still falls behind others in this regard. Kobuleti is the leader among the municipalities - 6 women were elected to the municipal hall. Representation of women increased in all municipalities except for Keda, where only one woman received a mandate in 2017 elections. Also, Keda, Shuakhevi and Khulo do not have any female majoritarian members.
Political engagement of women in local representative institutions remains a significant challenge.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has clear recommendations about appropriate representation of women in the local decision-making bodies. The Council of Europe calls upon Georgia to create appropriate conditions, so that women are able “to combine family and work life with political life”.
According to the 2017 action plan of the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia, engagement and representation of women on central, autonomous and local governance levels were supported with concrete initiatives and measures. It would be a welcome step if these initiatives are strengthened in 2018 action plan, especially supporting women leaders on local levels.
It is important, that central and local governments, as well as political parties take steps for strengthening of representation of women in political and social life.