The Constitution of Georgia upholds the principle of equal rights for men and women at article 14. Georgia ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1994, and the Optional Protocol to CEDAW 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 in the legislative branch (Parliament), the enhancement of women’s security, equality in the labour market and the strengthening of women’s political participation.
The draft Non-discrimination Law was adopted in 2014. This Law clearly states the unacceptability of discrimination on the basis of one’s gender identity and sexual orientation along with race, colour, language, national, ethnic or social belonging, sex, pregnancy or maternity, marital or health status, disability, age, nationality, origin, place of birth, place of residence, internal displacement, material or social status, religion or belief, political or any other ground (Article 2, of the draft Law). The Law includes the principle of equality established by the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, according to which temporary special measures developed in order to achieve factual equality shall not be considered discrimination. The law aims at equal enjoyment of rights already determined by the Georgian legislation. Ombudsman will oversee and ensure the implementation of this law.
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 circumstances, marriage may be authorised from the age of 16 years.
Only marriages registered at the Civil Registry Agency are legally recognised in Georgia.
Early marriage appears to be increasingly common in Georgia,,  indicating that the law on minimum age of marriage is not effectively enforced. One report by UNICEF argues that poverty and the importance of female virginity prior to marriage are the two primary factors pushing girls into early marriages. The report notes that early marriages primarily affect girls aged 14 and over, but that in some cases, girls as young as 12 are married. In some cases, early marriage is associated with the practice of bride kidnapping (see below).
The 2006 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (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.
According to the Public Defender’s Report on the Human Rights Situation in Georgia (2012), 7,367 girls dropped out of school at the level of basic education (7-9th grades, ages 12-15) from October 2011 until January 2013. The Public Defender provided a recommendation to the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs (MoLHSA) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to ensure that preventive, as well as other relevant measures are in place, in order to protect girls from any kind of violence or coercion. During 2013, special attention was paid to the Kvemo Kartli region, where the school dropout rate for girls is the highest.
Among ethnic Azerbaijani communities living in Georgia, girls may leave school as early as age 13 or 14. It should be noted that this community itself has recognized the problem and civil society groups are advocating against the practice of early marriage as well as assisting young women to obtain further skills and training.
Women and men can also both legally be recognised as the head of the household in Georgia,  and women and men continue to have equal decision-making authority over children following divorce. 
According to a 2010 USAID report, men are usually considered the head of the household in Georgia, and have the ultimate say in decision-making. The report notes that while women are usually responsible for the day-to-day care of children and related decision-making, they do not necessarily make decisions about expenditure for services such as healthcare and education. The 2006 CEDAW shadow report notes that women’s equal rights in marriage under civil law are often ignored, and customary and / or religious laws dictate family relationships.
Women have equal rights to inheritance in Georgia, as wives and as daughters.
According to USAID, in practice, it is customary for men to be given preference in property inheritance, and sons most often inherit property from parents.
Women and men have the same rights to initiate divorce. The 2004 report to the CEDAW Committee noted that in the event of divorce (where the marriage has been registered), the civil code 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.
Regarding unpaid work, a World Bank study reported that attitudes towards gender roles within the householdare changing in Georgia, with younger men more involved in child care and domestic work. The research notes that the increasing importance of women’s income to the household in the face of on-going economic uncertainty and high levels of male unemployment are contributing factors to this development. However, this view is disputed by research by USAID and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which both found that traditional gender roles in regard to responsibilities within the household, and household decision-making, remained firmly entrenched. , 
 Civil Code of Georgia, Article 1106  CEDAW (2012) p.37  CEDAW (2012) p.54  Plan UK (2012)  Meskhi, Marina, et al. (2008), p. 40  Scarborough, Gregory, Tamar Tavartkiladze, Anna Arganashvili (2006), p.27  Chitashvili, Marine et al. (2010), p. 68-69  Meskhi, Marina, et al. (2008), p. 40 Georgia Today (July 2013)  Public Defender Annual Report 2013, p.504  ECMI Working Paper (2014)  Civil Code, article 1152; 1155;1197;120  CEDAW (2012), p.37  International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank (2011) p.82  Civil Code, article 1202  CEDAW (2012), p.37  Public Defender Annual Report 2013, p.504  CEDAW (2012), p.37 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank (2011), p.82  USAID (2010), p.24 Meskhi, Marina, et al. (2008), p. 40 Constitution of Georgia, Article 21  USAID (2010), p.24  CEDAW (2012, p.54  CEDAW (2004) p.39  CEDAW (2004, p.39  World Bank (2011), p.332  USAID (2010), p.24  Chitashvili, Marine et al. (2010), p.71
Georgia has not signed the Council of Europe ‘Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence’.
Domestic violence became a specific criminal offense in 2012, with the adoption of a package of amendments to the country’s Criminal Code. In addition, the issue is also addressed in the 2006 Law on the Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection and Assistance of the Victims of Domestic Violence. This law was later substantially amended in 2009. These amendments included clauses to strengthen the referral system in cases of domestic violence, and to introduce criminal charges for violations of civil protection orders.
The definition of domestic violence in the law on the Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection and Assistance of the Victims of Domestic Violence includes all forms of physical, physiological, economic, and sexual violence or coercion, and defines the crime as the systematic abuse, blackmail, or humiliation of one family member by another if such acts cause physical pain or suffering. The definition of ‘family member’ includes anyone living in the same household as the victim.
Penalties under the Criminal Code are 80 to 200 hours of community service, or up to a year’s deprivation of liberty if the violence was committed against a pregnant woman, a minor, or a disabled person, or in the presence of a minor, or against two or more people. Prison sentences of up to six years can also be imposed under general assault charges.
Under the Law on Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection and Assistance of the Victims of Domestic Violence, courts can impose protection orders of up to one month on perpetrators of domestic violence., 
According to the official Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) report for 2012, the Law on Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection and Assistance of the Victims of Domestic Violence includes a comprehensive mechanism to oversee its implementation, drawing in health services and social services in addition to police and judiciary. For instance, training on how to deal with domestic violence cases is now included as part of police basic training, and state-sponsored shelters and rehabilitation programmes for victims have been opened.,  Amendments made in 2009 saw the establishment of a national referral system.
According to the Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) network, in 2010, police registered 174 cases of male violence against women; it is unclear how many of these resulted in a conviction. 189 cases of family violence were registered, resulting in 145 convictions. In addition, 31 applications were made for protection orders, of which 22 were granted (data not disaggregated by gender).
After the criminalisation of domestic violence in 2012,criminal investigations were launched in 395 criminal cases (47 in 2012 and 348 in 2013), inter alia 236 prosecutions that resulted in 170 convictions. In addition in 2013, 57 protective orders (54 in 2012) and 241 restraining orders (294 in 2012)were issued.As a result, the number of total reported cases of domestic violence increased by 75% as compared to 2012.
Research conducted by the United Nations Population Fund in 2010 found that on the whole, women experiencing domestic violence sought help from friends and relatives rather than from official institutions. The most common reasons cited for this were feelings of shame or embarrassment and that they would not be believed or would be blamed for the violence, fear of giving the family a bad name, and thinking that the violence was not serious enough to warrant seeking help. Out of 150 women questioned, just 2% had gone to the police to seek help following domestic violence.
Research on domestic violence by UNFPA found that many police officers had little understanding of domestic violence or of the legislation in place to protect women from it. For instance, some police officers typified examples given of incidents of domestic violence as men using ‘traditional’ methods to resolve conflict in the family. This is despite the fact that police now routinely receive training on how to deal with domestic violence cases.
The State Fund for the Protection and Assistance to the Victims of Human Trafficking (State Fund) is the main statutory institution providing assistance to the victims/survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. The State Fund provides services for the victims/survivors of domestic violence such as shelters, psychological and medical assistance, legal aid; and since 2010, a nation-wide hotline, with support from UN Women (with funding from Sweden). These services are now operational - one hotline and two shelters (one in Tbilisi and one in Gori) are fully funded by the state budget. In the period of 2010-2013, 3,423 women and children were provided with hotline consultations, shelter services, emergency medical, psychological and legal aid services.
The most severe form of violence, such as murder was revealed in 21 cases towards women in 2013, out of which 8 were committed by a husband and in one instance by a son.The independent expert group that is granting the status of domestic violence victim heard 30 cases in 2013, out of which 27 (25 women and 2 men) persons received the status of victim in 2013.
The study of the Perceptions and Attitudes towards Violence against Women and Domestic Violence conducted by UN Women reveals that violence is considered a violation of human rights and 51% of respondents believe that women are more oppressed than men. It is noteworthy, that 57% of respondents consider all instances of violence against women and domestic violence a crime. Physical abuse is considered the most severe form of violence according to 97% of respondents. It is followed by sexual violence (94%), restriction of relationships (91%), restrictions on mobility (89%), economic control (89%) and verbal abuse (83.5%). Comparison of the study findings with other studies carried out in previous years in the country clearly show an increase of intolerance towards violence against women and domestic violence, respondents increasingly perceive it as a criminal offence, rather than a family matter. For instance, according to the UNFPA/ACT National Research on Domestic Violence against Women in Georgia (2009), 78.3% of respondents believed that domestic violence is a family matter and 34.1% believed that violence in the family can be justified, while according to the present study, only 25% believe DV is a family matter, while 69% believe domestic violence is a crime and 17% believe it can be justified in certain cases.
Rape is a criminal offence under article 137 of the Criminal Code.However, the definition only includes forced sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Article 138 of the Criminal Code of Georgia further foresees “coercive acts of sexual nature” implying rape through homosexual intercourse or by using objects.For the time being, the Ministry of Justice in partnership with NGOs is working on a new broader definition rape.
According the GEOSTAT there were 84 rape cases reported in 2009, 82 in 2010 and 78 in 2012. As for the data on convictions, there were 40 men convicted of the rape crime in 2009, 45 in 2010 and 26 in 2011.
The Georgian Criminal Code makes no specific reference to spousal rape. However, according to the 2012 official report to the CEDAW Committee, currently cases of spousal rape are treated in exactly the same way as other rape cases, and revisions to the Criminal Code to include spousal rape under the definition of domestic violence are being drafted.
Rape is punishable by between 3 and 20 years imprisonment, depending on the age of the victim, number of perpetrators, and severity of violence of the attack.
According to the US Department of State, police will only investigate in cases where the victim has made a complaint, and are often reluctant to proceed to prosecution.
Sexual violence remains a deeply taboo issue in Georgia, according to USAID, with many women extremely reluctant to talk experiences that they may have had. As such, fear of social stigma acts as a significant barrier to reporting.
Sexual harassment is not well developed in Georgian law.
The US Department of State human rights report notes that sexual harassment in the workplace is a widespread problem. A report by USAID reports that the issue has not garnered significant attention in Georgia, in comparison to other forms of violence against women.
One source points to high levels of sexual harassment experienced by women belonging to Georgia’s high population of people displaced by conflicts over the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The issue of sexual harassment at workplace at this stage is also covered by the Law on Gender Equality: “In employment relations, the following is inadmissible: a) Discrimination, persecution or coercion of a person that is aimed at creating a threatening, hostile, belittling, or insulting environment; b) Any undesirable verbal, nonverbal or physical action of sexual character that is aimed at or results in the creation of a threatening, hostile, belittling, or insulting environment.” This definition, however, remains as a stand-alone principle that is not yet included in the Labour Code or other legislation. However, sexual harassment can be considered under Article 332 of the Criminal Code of Georgia which determines the sanctions for abuse of official position “by a civil servant or a person of the equal status for the purpose of gaining benefits or other advantages for oneself or for others that caused substantial violation of the rights of a physical person, and of legitimate interests of the society or the state”and sanctions for such behaviour can be fine or imprisonment for a term of up to three years, and at the same time the right to hold office or pursue an activity is deprived for up to three years.
Taboos around discussing sexual violence mean collecting data on attitudes and prevalence is very difficult, according to USAID. According to UNIFEM Rapid Needs Assessment of Internally Displaced Women as a Result of August 2008 Events, 6.3 per cent of respondents had information about sexual violence committed against women during the August 2008 military clashes. Out of this 6.3 per cent (70 respondents), 21 per cent said they had information about cases of rape, 33 per cent about group rape, 14 per cent about attempted rape and 32 per cent did not specify the kind of sexual abuse. Only 1 per cent, i.e. 10-11 respondents reported witnessing rape.”
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practised in Georgia.
Abduction of women and girls for forced marriage occurs in some rural regions of Georgia and among some ethnic groups (for instance, Azeris), but cases are rarely investigated by the police, even though bride abduction is illegal under Article 23 of the Criminal Code., , 
Abortion is available on demand in Georgia. Media reports in May 2013 indicated that lawmakers were set to debate a proposal to ban sex-selective abortion in Georgia, in response to a growing gender imbalance.
 Council of Europe Treaty Office (2013)  Criminal Code of the Republic of Georgia, Articles 11 and 126  CEDAW (2006), p.2  CEDAW (2012), p.17  Library of Congress (2012)  Library of Congress (2012)  Council of Europe (2009), p.120  Chitashvili, Marine et al. (2010), p.20  WAVE (2011)  CEDAW (2012), p.17  Chitashvili, Marine et al.(2010), p.20  Amnesty International (2009)  WAVE (2011)  GEORGIA – Beijing +20 National Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (2014)  Data provided by the Ministry of Justice upon request of the DV Council in January 2014  Data provided by the Supreme Court of Georgia upon request of the DV Council in January 2014  Ibid  GEORGIA – Beijing +20 National Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (2014)  Chitashvili, Marine, et al. (2010)  Chitashvili, Marine, et al. (2010), p.65-66  USAID (2010), p.4  GEORGIA – Beijing +20 National Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (2014)  GEORGIA – Beijing +20 National Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (2014)  Ibid  Ibid  Ibid; Chitashvili, Marine, et al. (2010)  Council of Europe (2009) , p.117  Criminal Code, Article 138  GEORGIA – Beijing +20 National Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (2014)  GEOSTAT, Criminal Justice Statistics, http://www.geostat.ge/index.php?action=page&p_id=602&lang=eng  CEDAW (2012), p.22  Criminal Code, Article 137  US Department of State (2013)  USAID (2010), p.31  US Department of State (2013)  USAID (2010), p.19  US Department of State (2013)  USAID (2010), p.29  Meskhi, Marina, et al. (2008), p. 40  Law on Gender Equality of Georgia, Article 6  Law on Gender Equality of Georgia, Article 6  Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 332; paragraph 1  Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 332; paragraph 1  USAID (2010)  Institute for Policy Studies with UNIFEM’s support carried out the Rapid Needs Assessment through September 5-29th 2008. In the framework of this assessment, 1144 IDPs (47% of men and 53% of women) were surveyed. Additionally, fifteen discussion groups with IDPs were conducted in the collective centres in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Gori. Thirty in-depth interviews with the representatives of international organisations, government and local NGOs were carried out. Institute for Policy Studies (2008), p.10  Chitashvili, Marine, et al. (2010)  UN Women (2012)  CEDAW (2006), p.7  United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013)  Kiguradze, Temur and Robert Coalson (2013)
The male/female sex ratio for the working age population in 2013 is 0.94 while the sex ratio at birth is 1.01.There is some evidence to suggest that Georgia is a country of low concern in relation to missing women due to elevated child sex ratios.
In 2012, there were about three times as many male children out of school as females. The ratio of female to male primary school enrolment was 101. There is virtually no gender gap in secondary education.
Women and men have equal rights to own and access land in Georgia, under the law ‘On Ownership’.
Customary and religious laws are not considered valid sources of law under the Constitution, in regard to land and property rights or any other matter. However, USAID reports that tradition, customary law and religious law have a strong influence on attitudes to land ownership in practice, and that these typically discriminate against women.
In practice, USAID reports that land is usually registered solely in the husband’s name. Particularly in rural areas, women often have little involvement in economic decision making, and lack information about their rights under civil law.
In a 2013 UN Women study, 39.8% of persons owning a household farm also owned immovable and movable property (such as a house, land, a commercial space, a car or a firm).
Women and men have the same rights to own and access property other than land, under the law ‘On Ownership’.
Marital status does not affect women’s rights to property. All property acquired during the course of a marriage is owned in common, regardless of the financial contribution made by each spouse. The sale of any jointly owned property requires the consent of both spouses.
According to USAID, many married women live in properties belonging not to their husbands, but to their fathers-in-law. This means that should they wish to divorce, they have no rights at all to claim a share of this property. As with land ownership, many women are unaware of their rights under civil law, and most property is registered to men., 
Women in Georgia are more often ‘co-owners’ of property (e.g. as shareholders of parents’ property or in case of a divorce).
Women and men have equal rights to credit and bank loans, and women can apply for credit independently. According to USAID, it is in practice very difficult for women living in rural areas to access credit in the own right.
According to financial inclusion data held by the World Bank, 35% of women had bank accounts in 2011, compared to 31% of men. In the same year, 11% of adults had taken out a loan with a financial institution (defined as a bank, credit union, microfinance institution, or another financial institution such as a cooperative); these data were not disaggregated by gender.
According to data from the Microfinance Information Exchange, women made up 43.58% of recipients of micro-credit in 2012.
In a 2013 UN Women study, the majority of women interviewed said that their main source of information for loan products was through social networking (either through a neighbour, friend, or a relative), rather than through direct marketing.
Women in Georgia often struggle to obtain a loan from a microfinance institution since collateral is required as security (such as immovable property) and men are usually the owners of residences or household farms.
 CEDAW (2012), p.37  International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank (2011) p.82  USAID (n.d.), p.3  USAID (2010), p.24  USAID (n.d.), p.3, 8  UN Women (2013)  CEDAW (2012), p.37  International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank (2011), p.82  Civil Code of Georgia, Article 1158  USAID (n.d.), p.8  USAID (2010), p.24  USAID (2010), p.24  USAID (n.d.), p.3  UN Women (2013)  CEDAW (2012), p.28  USAID (n.d.), p.8  World Bank (n.d.)  Microfinance Information Exchange  UN Women (2013)  UN Women (2013)
Regarding access to public space, article 22 of the Constitution protects freedom of movement within and outside the country and the freedom to choose one’s place of residence for women and men.
Freedom of movement in the two disputed 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 refusal of authorities in the two regions to allow freedom of movement.There is also a large population of internally displaced people in Georgia, of people displaced from these two regions and unable to return; as of January 2013, this population stood at 274,000.
In 2012, Amnesty International reports that Orthodox Christians attacked members of the Muslim minority in some villages, verbally abusing them, trying to stop the construction of places of worship, and threatening to expel them from their homes.
Intolerance towards members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersexed (LGBTI) community also limits some women’s free access to public space: attempts to hold a demonstration against homophobia in May 2013 resulted in violence and harassment from thousands of anti-gay demonstrators, prompted in part by statements made by the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church equating homosexuality to a disease. Police were overwhelmed by the number of ant-gay demonstrators, but did manage to safely evacuate the LGBTI rights protestors. Later, the Georgian prime minister condemned the violence and stated that no one should be punished for being different.
USAID reports that in some Azeri communities, husbands are reluctant to let their wives work outside the home.
While there are not required quotas at the national or sub-national level, as of 2011, the Law on Political Unions states that political parties will receive an extra 10% from the state budget if at least 20% of their candidates are of the underrepresented gender. To qualify, 20% of every ten candidates on the party list must be of the underrepresented gender. This applies at national and sub-national level.This change occurred after intensive advocacy from the international community and upon initiative of the Gender Equality Council.
In the 2010 local elections, 169 women were elected, out of a total of 1695 (10%).
Prior to the 2012 Parliamentary elections, parties made a general commitment to include more women in their party lists, as well as to nominate women in the single-mandate districts. However, the major competing parties – the United National Movement (UNM) and the Georgian Dream (GD) nominated three and eight women in different districts respectively out of 73 total nominations made by each.
In 2013, MPs and members of non-parliamentary parties agreed to maintain voluntary quotas with increased incentives (30% additional funding for including at least 3 representatives of different sex in each 10 of the party lists).
The majority of women respondents to a 2014 UN Women study said that they were not aware of the activities and responsibilities of the local government. This is particularly true for rural areas. In addition, the majority of women interviewed said they did not participate in the drafting of the local budget, in setting the priorities for each town or district, or in planning municipal programmes.
Media monitoring carried out in 2010 revealed that while women made up 30% of presenters and 42% of reporters, just 6% of subjects in news items were female. According to USAID, sensationalist reporting of cases of sexual violence often compromises the safety of victims and results in further trauma, particularly as in some cases, reports reveal information about victims’ identities.
Concerning workplace rights, The Law on Gender Equality of Georgia stipulates that “free choice of occupation or profession, career promotion, vocational training” is guaranteed without discrimination.“Everyone has the right to freely choose the profession and specialty based on his/her abilities.”
Under the Labour Code, pregnant women are entitled to up to 126 days paid maternity leave. It is unclear what the level of payment is. Maternity leave is financed through the State Budget.
Amendments made to the Labour Code made it possible for employers to dismiss women while on maternity leave; as of May 2013, the Labour Code was again under review by the Parliament, with a view to making it an illegal offence to summarily dismiss a female employee during pregnancy and maternity leave. USAID reports that it is extremely difficult for women to prove that they have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, as the burden of proof falls on the woman.
 CEDAW (2012), p.53-54  US Department of State (2013)  IDMC (2013)  Amnesty International (2013), p.104  Zhvania, Tina (2013)  Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (2013)  USAID (2010), p.24  quotaProjet (2013)  The Parliament in Georgia consists of 150 members, out of them 77 MPs are elected by proportional system through party-lists and 73 majoritarian MPs are elected in single-mandate election districts.  GEORGIA – Beijing +20 National Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (2014)  ODIHR (2010), p.17  GEORGIA – Beijing +20 National Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (2014)  Organic law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens; Article 30; paragraph 7  UN Women (2014)  Global Media Monitoring Project (2010), p.67  USAID (2010), p.18  Law on Gender Equality of Georgia; Article, Art. 4/2/”f”  Law on Gender Equality of Georgia, Article 7  CEDAW (2012)  Gvedashvili, Nino (2013)  USAID (2010), p.19
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