Gender Norms in Georgia in Relation to War and Peace
Kadayifci, Seniha A
After years of occupation under the Soviet Union, the Republic of Georgia achieved its independence in 1991. Since then, Georgia’s priorities have grown and expanded to developing into a Western-modeled democracy, free from the shadow of its Soviet past. The priorities and goals outlined in Georgia’s National Security Concept include membership into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. One of the priorities in its Security Concept is the protection of Georgia’s territorial integrity, referring to Russian threats to its sovereignty. Given recent outbreak of conflict between the two countries, the topic of territorial integrity has become increasingly important to Georgia. However, the only way Georgia will have any means of protecting its territorial integrity will be through support from the West. It is therefore crucial for Georgia to renew talks for eventual integration into NATO and the EU. At the same time, it needs to take appropriate measures to further democratize itself, and address the social issues which are hindering its ability to develop into a democracy. One such issue is the perpetuation of gender inequality. This thesis argues that certain cultural factors and norms in Georgia impede the integration of gender empowerment in the country’s development as a democracy. Incorporating gender is important in advancing Georgian society, because half of its population is female, and existing literature on women and peace demonstrates the importance of women’s representation in providing different perspectives on matters pertaining to the country’s affairs. Given that being part of Western democracy is important to Georgia, it must incorporate gender into its agenda. Not doing so will not only impact its democratization in the long run, but will also have implications for its affairs with Russia, especially in the event of another outbreak of conflict.
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