Georgia is ranked 60 out of 86 in the 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index. The country was ranked 33 out of 102 in the 2009 Social Institutions and Gender Index.
The country’s 2011 Human Development Index score is 0.733, placing it in 75th place (out of 187countries). The Gender Inequality Index score is 0.418, placing Georgia at 73 out of 146 countries. Georgia is ranked in 86th place in the 2011 Global Gender Gap Index, with a score of 0.6624.
The Georgian civil code requires the free consent of both spouses for marriage, and the law sets the minimum age for marriage at 18 years for both men and women. In exceptional (unspecified) circumstances, marriage may be authorised from the age of 16 years. According to data held by the UN, in 2005, 13.7% of girls aged 15-19 were married, divorced, or widowed. As mentioned in the shadow report to the CEDAW committee in 2006, girls who marry young are unable to complete their education. There are cases of forced marriages in rural areas (see below).
Polygamy is not recognised by Georgian law. There is no information on whether polygamy is practised in Georgia.
The Constitution guarantees equal rights to both spouses, including in regard to parental authority.  However, this only applies to civil marriages. The 2006 CEDAW shadow report notes that increasingly, marriages are being conducted only in churches (or mosques, among the country’s Muslim minority), and are not registered. Within such marriages, women have no legal rights, as they are not recognised by the state. In the event of divorce (where the marriage has been registered), the law stipulates that mothers are given custody of children. It is illegal for a husband to seek a divorce without his wife’s consent if she is pregnant, or they have a child under the age of one year.
Under article 21 of the Georgian constitution, women and men have the same inheritance rights. In practice, the 2006 shadow report to the CEDAW committee states that women are usually considered to be ‘secondary heirs’, and are discriminated against in the division of inherited property. 
 CEDAW (2004), p.38  CEDAW (2004), p.38  United Nations Population Division / DESA (2008)  Meskhi et al (2006), p.7  CEDAW (2006), p.7  CEDAW (2004), p.39  Meskhi et al (2006), p.40  Meskhi et al (2006), p.40  CEDAW (2004), p.39  FAO et al (2004), p.42  Meskhi et al (2006), p.39
Legislation on domestic violence was introduced in 2006, and in 2009, amendments to this legislation saw the establishment of a national referral system for domestic violence cases; however, promised state assistance for victims of domestic violence in the form of shelters has not materialised. In addition, while the new law includes provisions for temporary protective orders, it does not actually criminalise domestic violence. When criminal cases are brought against perpetrators, this happens under existing provisions in the criminal code. Further legislative amendments introduced in 2009 included changes to the judicial system to make it easier for domestic violence cases to be brought. Domestic violence remains a taboo issue, meaning that women affected are reluctant to talk about it. According to the 2006 shadow report to the CEDAW committee, the police and other agencies remain ill-equipped to deal with domestic violence cases. Such support that does exist (including a hotline and a shelter) is provided by women’s rights NGOs, but these services are limited due to lack of funding.
Rape is recognised as a criminal act, punishable by between 7 and 20 years in prison, depending on the age of the victim. The legislation makes no specific reference to spousal rape. It is thought that many cases of rape go unreported due to the stigma that women who have been raped experience, and because police do not always investigate claims. Sexual harassment is punishable by a fine and a prison sentence of up to three years, but the law is rarely applied in practice and complaints seldom lead to prosecution. 
Abduction of women and girls for forced marriage occurs in some rural regions of Georgia, but cases are rarely investigated by the police, even though legislation in regard to kidnapping has been strengthened (and is now included under the law relating to trafficking). Rather, their families often pressure women into staying with the abductor. Women who have been abducted and manage to escape are often rejected by their families. One NGO runs a hotline and a shelter for women who have been abducted.
According to the US Department of State, there are reports of under-age boys being abducted and forcibly conscripted into militias in Abkhazia.
Trafficking in persons is illegal under Georgian law, but Georgia continues to be a source country for women trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation, and of women and men trafficked for forced labour.  According to the US Department of State, the government runs shelters and a rehabilitation programme for victims of trafficking. However, according to the 2006 shadow report to the CEDAW committee, the state agencies involved in combating trafficking and providing support to victims themselves admit to a lack of capacity or a coordinated response to the problem. The same report notes that women (and men) who have been trafficked are assumed by society to be sex workers, are blamed for what has happened to them, and are treated with little sympathy. As a result, few are willing to talk opening about their experiences.
Women in Georgia have the right to use – and access information about – contraception. According to figures given in a 2010 UNFPA report, 47% of women reported using some form of contraception, although this included so-called ‘traditional’ methods. That said, healthcare provided by the state is patchy and of poor quality, and most people are unable to afford private medical treatment.  Abortion is available on demand in Georgia. According to the 2006 shadow report to the CEDAW committee, the abortion rate is high in Georgia, as a result of lack of access to reliable forms of contraception. 
There are no reports that female genital mutilation is practised in Georgia.
 Amnesty International (2009); Amnesty International (2010), p.148; US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010); Freedom House (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  Meskhi et al (2006), p.7; CEDAW (2006), p.7  Meskhi et al (2006), p.7  Meskhi et al (2006), p.8; US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  Meskhi et al (2006), p.40; US Department of State (2010); CEDAW (2006), p.7  Meskhi et al (2006), p.40; US Department of State (2010); CEDAW (2006), p.7  US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  US Department of State (2010); Freedom House (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  Meskhi et al (2006), p.10  Meskhi et al (2006), p.10  Meskhi et al (2006), p.10  US Department of State (2010)  UNFPA (2010), p.95  Meskhi et al (2006), p.33  UNDP (2007)  Meskhi et al (2006), p.34
The under-five mortality rate is slightly higher for boys than for girls (39 per 1000 against 33 per 1000). Gender-disaggregated data regarding nutrition and immunisation rates is not available. According to UNFPA, secondary school enrolment figures are higher for girls (92%) than for boys (88%), while UNICEF gives figures that indicate that slightly more boys (83%) than girls (82%) are enrolled in secondary school. No data is available as to the number of boys and girls who actually complete secondary school.
The figures above would not indicate that Georgia is a country of concern in regard to son bias in early childhood care or access to education.
The male/female sex ratio for the total population in 2012 is 0.91. Analysis of sex ratios across age groups shows elevated juvenile sex ratios, thus providing evidence that Georgia is a country of concern for missing women.
The right to property is guaranteed on an equal basis under the Georgian constitution (article 21). Women and men have the same rights to purchase, own and administer property and land.  Women and men have the same rights of access to property other than land and both spouses have equal legal rights of ownership over the couple’s joint property.
There are no legal restrictions on women’s access to credit.  Women’s access to bank loans is improving in rural areas thanks to specific programmes and credit unions. According to the 2004 CEDAW report, at that time women made up almost half of credit union members. The fact that these credit unions exist and are mentioned in the CEDAW report would indicate that in rural areas in particular, it is difficult for women to access other forms of credit (such as bank loans).
In practice, however, it appears that when a couple divorces, women often lose ownership of communal property. 
Freedom of movement in the two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is restricted for everyone, male and female, with people unable to move between these areas and other parts of Georgia, due to the presence of Russian military border guards. Within Georgia, as of the end of 2009, an estimated 26,000 people remained displaced as a result of the 2008 conflict in South Ossetia, and were unable to return to their homes. There are no further legal restrictions on women’s freedom of movement in Georgia, but in many cases, women are effectively unable to travel within and outside of Georgia without their husband’s or partner’s consent.
The right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are not respected in Georgia, with journalists facing violence and harassment (although the media remains relatively outspoken), and legal restrictions on demonstrations in place.
Under Georgian labour law, there are no provisions protecting pregnant women from being dismissed by their employers. Reference is made to maternity leave in the 2006 CEDAW report, but it is not clear how much leave pregnant women are entitled to, and for how long. Gender segregation in the labour market sees women confined primarily to low-paid, low-status work. A survey in 2004 revealed that on average, women earned 37% of the average male income.
Despite some prominent women politicians – such as former speaker of the Parliament and interim president Nino Burjanadze – women remain underrepresented in public life in Georgia. As of 2010, there were only nine women in the parliament, out of 138 (6.52%). In contrast, more women have been able to assume positions of authority in the NGO sector. Women’s rights NGOs are active on a range of issues in Georgia, including: raising awareness of domestic violence and providing support to victims; working to improve women’s economic opportunities; encouraging women to be politically active; and working with marginalised and disadvantaged groups.
 US Department of State (2010)  Amnesty International (2010), p.148  Meskhi et al (2006), p.24  Amnesty International (2010), p.148; US Department of State (2010); Human Rights Watch (2010); Freedom House (2010)  US Department of State (2010)  CEDAW (2006), p.10  US Department of State (2010)  Rokicka (2008) p.30  Freedom House (2010); Rokicka (2008) p.51; Meskhi et al (2006), p.14  Inter-Parliamentary Union (n.d.)  Meskhi et al (2006), p.22  Meskhi et al (2006), p.22  ILGA (n.d.)  US Department of State (2010)
The territory that is now Georgia has a long history, stretching back to the first century AD. Having been incorporated into the Russian empire in the 19th century, Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1921, and an independent state in 1991. The independence and immediate post-independence period saw violent conflict between Georgian forces and separatists in the two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which caused the forced displacement of many thousands of people on both sides. Many of these IDPs continue to live in difficult material conditions. Ceasefires were signed in the early 1990s, but the political status of both regions remains unclear. In 2008, hostilities broke out between Georgian and Russian forces in South Ossetia, leading to human rights violations on both sides, and the displacement of large numbers of ethnic Georgians from South Ossetia. Georgia is classed by the World Bank as a lower middle income country. The wine industry has long played a significant role in Georgia’s economy (and identity), although a ban on imports of Georgian wine (which is highly valued throughout the former Soviet Union) into Russia had a negative impact. The dominant religion is Orthodox Christianity (83.9%), but there is also a Muslim minority (9.9%), as well as Armenian Gregorian and Catholic minorities.
The Soviet period brought many changes to women’s lives in Georgia, with women entering education, employment and public life more generally en masse. But while women were expected to play a visible role in the economy and society, within the home, very little changed, and women were still responsible for domestic work and childcare and expected to defer to their husbands. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, economic and political upheavals, as well as the impact of civil conflict, have combined with the reassertion of patriarchal ideas regarding acceptable gender roles to limit women’s rights and opportunities in Georgia (as elsewhere in the former Soviet Union). As access to the two breakaway regions is severely restricted, it is difficult to say what women’s lives are like in these regions.
The Constitution of Georgia upholds the principle of equal rights for men and women at articles 14 and 38. Georgia ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1994, and the Optional Protocol on violence against women in 2002. The country is a member of the Council of Europe, and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights in 1999. A new Gender Equality Law was passed in 2010, which provides for the establishment of a national women’s machinery, the enhancement of women’s security, equality in the labour market and the strengthening of women’s political participation.
 CIA (2010)  CIA (2010)  Freedom House (2010)  Meskhi et al (2006), p.4  Freedom House (2010); CIA (2010)  Amnesty International (2010), p.148; US Department of State (2010)  World Bank (n.d.)  Economist (2010)  CIA (2010)  Meskhi et al (2006), p.3  Meskhi et al (2006), pp.3, 7  Meskhi et al (2006), p.3  US Department of State (2010)  FAO et al (2004), p.42  United Nations Treaty Collection (n.d.)  Council of Europe (n.d.)  UNIFEM (2010)
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