Public Defender Responds to Sexist Remarks of Members of Keda Council

The Public Defender of Georgia responds to the information spread by the media on August 26, 2016, according to which, following the meeting in Keda Municipality Council the women were asked to leave the session hall.

At the end of the meeting in Keda Municipality Council, the deputy of the United National Movement, Baqar Baramidze, said to the chairman of the council, Amiran Tsintsadze, “Let the men stay here, I have some questions” and demanded the women to leave the session hall. It should be noted that Keda Municipality Council numbers only two women out of 24 council members.

“There were some personal issues to be discussed among the men, nothing more, the presence of the women was not necessary” – said the chairman of the council to the representatives of the media.

The Public Defender notes that the women inclusion in the political life is a necessary precondition for the development of a democratic state; accordingly, the state should contribute to carrying out this task. The similar attitude strengthens and encourages a negative stereotype in relation to the women participation in the social and the political life of this country, poses a threat that in the future they will be more subjected to the discrimination due to their sex.

The session hall of the municipality council is a political forum where political debates take place and all the members of the municipality council are entitled to participate in it despite their sex. It is inadmissible when the male deputies perceive the political forum as a personal space where they will be able to ask women to leave political debates. Accordingly, there is no reason that could justify this fact.

The Public Defender’s 2015 parliamentary report notes that in Georgia protection of the women rights and the gender equality issues are still challenges. Despite the positive steps taken by the Government, a particular attention needs to be paid to the situation in a number of domains.

It is alarming that this happened in the legislative body on a local self-government level, whose effective activities on a municipal level should serve the improvement of the living standards of citizens and the protection of human rights.

According to the 2014 recommendations made in relation to Georgia by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, a stereotype attitude towards the social role of women is still thoroughly rooted in Georgia. The committee calls on the state to ensure women inclusion in the political life, especially, on managerial positions, including, in the local legislative bodies.[1]

The Public Defender addresses Baqar Baramidze, deputy of Keda Municipality Council, to avoid making sexist remarks in the future; also, he calls on the chairman of Keda Municipality Council, Amiran Tsintsadze, to avoid making statements containing gender stereotypes, to eliminate the similar statements in the council meetings and to contribute to shaping equal environment. Also, the Public Defender addresses all the chairmen of the councils in Georgia to run their activities based on the equality principle and to take preventive measures against sexist remarks.

[1] Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Georgia, CEDAW/C/GEO/CO/4-5, 24 July 2014, §§18, 25

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