EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell has issued a statement on gender equality as part of the national campaign “Toloba”, which is the Georgian word for equality. The campaign is an initiative by Mtavari Channel, aimed at raising awareness on gender issues across Georgia.
Watch the video or read the transcript in full below.
Gender equality is a topic that is very close to my heart. A straight-forward concept in theory, but – as we know – still so difficult to put into practise.
One can speak of having obtained gender equality when gender is neither an obstacle nor advantage to realising one’s dreams and ambitions; when gender is not taken as a basis for judging an individual’s character or ability; nor an excuse for any form of discrimination.
No society can yet claim to having achieved this, while some countries clearly have come further than others.
In a way, gender equality is a topic, where you know that you have succeeded when people stop talking about it. Because it is no longer an issue.
Here in Georgia, we will keep talking about gender equality,
As long as, women are the subjects of domestic violence, one of the truly most ugly faces of inequality. And totally unacceptable in any form.
As long as, every fifth woman report that they have been sexually harassed, usually at the workplace.
As long as, women on average earn 35% less than men.
As long as, 50% of the population – who are women – is represented in parliament by only 15% female parliamentarians, 14% in local governments, and with only 1 woman out of 59 mayors in this country.
As long as, a mediocre man can be selected for a job over a brilliant woman.
And this is why the European Union will continue working alongside so many others here in Georgia to assist in advancing gender rights at all levels.
Despite the challenges, I am optimistic that things will improve, when looking at all the strong, competent, highly qualified and inspirational women in this country; the politicians, business leaders and entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers, scientists, journalists, and others. All the women working in civil society for the sake of all Georgians, setting an example also for gender equality. And the fact that women today obtain higher education to a greater extent than men do also speaks about the future.
And, finally, I am optimistic also because, in the long run, I believe it is inevitable. Because it is the only rational choice. Because gender equality is for the benefit of both men and women. Because a country’s full economic potential can only be unleashed in a society where everyone is given the opportunity to reach their potential.
For all these reasons, I believe we need to keep up our efforts to fully realise greater gender equality together.