Public Defender Responds to Mamuka Khazaradze's Sexist Statement
The Public Defender of Georgia is responding to the comment made by Mamuka Khazaradze, founder of the Lelo political movement, about Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Maia Tskitishvili on 3 October 2019. According to Mamuka Khazaradze, “Maia Tskitishvili knows nothing about infrastructure. She may bake khachapuri well, but I don't know what her experience was in her previous life, when she was receiving billions."
The Public Defender considers that Mamuka Khazaradze's statement is sexist and strengthens discriminatory stereotypes about gender roles of men and women. In his statement Mamuka Khazaradze implied that women can only be competent in the kitchen, while he quesitoend their ability to get involved in public or political life, their education and qualifications.
The Public Defender considers that Mamuka Khazaradze, as a public figure who is actively involved in the country's political and social life, has a particular responsibility not to discredit female politicians by referring to their sex. The discriminatory statements about female politicians undermine the importance of women's participation in decision-making and reinforce wrong and degrading stereotypes about women's role in the society.
The Public Defender has repeatedly stressed the importance of women's involvement in political and public life. Given that equality and women's equal participation in decision-making remains one of the challenges in Georgia, creating a hostile environment for socially active women serves as a barrier for them to work in a free, safe and secure manner. It is important for a healthy political and public environment that criticism and public political debate be proffesional and not be aimed at humiliating or insulting a person on the ground of his/her personal characteristics or harmful stereotypes.
The Public Defender calls on Mamuka Khazaradze to refrain from making sexist or other kind of discriminatory statements in the future and to observe the principle of equality while conducting his political and public activities.