One in every two women in the EU has experienced sexual harassment at least once in her lifetime, and while national data are lacking, incidental evidence points to sexual harassment being a widespread issue in Georgia, as well (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, “Violence Against Women: an EU-Wide Survey”, 2014). The e-learning course – developed by UN Women and launched jointly with the Civil Service Bureau of Georgia and the Public Defender’s Office (PDO) – aims to raise awareness and promote the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. The course was designed primarily for civil servants, but the private telecommunications company GeoCell also joined the launch with the message that they will implement the course internally, hopefully inspiring other private sector actors to do the same.
The Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Refugees and Accommodation (MRA), Grigol Giorgadze, was one of the first to take the course. He explained that: “Prevention of sexual harassment is part of the Ministry’s Gender Equality Strategy, and we are proud to say that we have launched the e-learning course as mandatory for all staff members. Already more than 90 per cent of staff, including myself, have completed it.”
Guguli Maghradze, representing the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament, informed the participants of ongoing legislative initiatives to harmonize Georgian legislation with the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention), which includes definition and response mechanisms related to sexual harassment. She also committed to promoting the sexual harassment e-learning course among the Members of Parliament.
The Assistant to the Prime Minister on Human Rights and Gender Equality Issues, Sopo Japaridze, also called on all Ministries to introduce the course, declaring that: “Prevention of sexual harassment is crucial to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals which Georgia has nationalized, especially Goal 5 – to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.”
The prevention of sexual harassment course was finalized within the framework of the project “Equal Access of IDPs to Economic Opportunities”, implemented by UN Women and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and funded by the European Union.
The course is available here: sexualharassment.ombudsman.ge
Carin Goransson, UN Women Programme Analyst
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