Conference on Sexual Harassment Prevention Mechanisms - Progress and Challenges

On November 29, 2023, the Public Defender of Georgia, Levan Ioseliani, participated in the Conference on Sexual Harassment Prevention Mechanisms - Progress and Challenges.

Participants in the conference discussed the challenges of responding to the cases of sexual harassment in education institutions, examples of good practice of the implementation of prevention mechanisms against sexual harassment in the workplace and higher education institutions, and exchanged information about the benefits and challenges.

Levan Ioseliani spoke about the mandate of the Public Defender as a mechanism of combating discrimination and the benefits of defining sexual harassment as a form of discrimination. He also noted that despite the positive dynamics of the development of legal guarantees and internal mechanisms, the fight against sexual harassment remained an important challenge. There are cases when victims of discrimination refuse to use legal means of protecting their rights, on the one hand, due to the problems with gathering evidence and on the other hand, due to public pressure. The spread of sexist expressions against women involved in public and political life is also a problem, which strengthens discriminatory attitudes and is often used as a tool of political struggle against women and in order to silence women.

Levan Ioseliani briefly reviewed the cases of sexual harassment studied by the Office, as well as recommendations, resolutions and amicus curiae briefs prepared by the Office. He spoke about the electronic course prepared by the Public Defender’s Office, the practical guide developed with the help of UN Women, dozens of trainings, information meetings and seminars held throughout Georgia on sexual harassment issues, and information campaigns.

It is significant that the positive practice of the Public Defender's Office in terms of protection of victims of sexual harassment increased trust towards the institution, which in turn increased the number of referrals.

Ana Kvatchadze, acting Head of the Equality Department of the Public Defender’s Office, presented a report on the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Representatives of the legislative and executive authorities, civil society, private sector and academia participating in the event expressed their readiness to introduce and implement sexual harassment prevention mechanisms and to determine the next steps to achieve this goal.

The conference was organized by UN Women, the USAID Rule of Law Program and the Council of Europe.

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