Georgian Trade Unions Organization congratulate International Woman’s Day!

We especially congratulate the Ukrainian women in Georgia, who experienced the tragedy of the war. It is for the demonstration of women’s strength, ability to fight, solidarity and coverage that March 8 was established as an official holiday.

Peace and physical safety are the minimum necessities for women. However, we should not forger women’s labour and other rights, which are often violated in Georgia.

With the initiative and active involvement of our organization, in order to   establish the guaranties of women’s labour rights and ensure  their enforcement, in recent years, a number of changes were made in the labour legislation and the labour rights enforcement mechanism was launched in the form of the  Labour Inspection Service. However, measures taken to establish gender equality are insufficient. In Georgia, gender equality and women’s labour rights remain the biggest challenges.

Covid-19 pandemic and then the war of Russian-Ukraine had negative results on the economy and labour market of Georgia. In Such crisis situations, women are especially vulnerable and this time too, the women were most suffered.  

As a result of the pandemic, a 52 000 women lost their jobs.  As of 2022, this shortfall has not yet been corrected and compared to 2019, more than 20 000 women are employed. Today, women have to deal with new problems, while before that the participation of women in the economic activity was already low and it was 22.5% behind the economic activity of men.  

The difference between the salaries of women and men remains an important problem. National Statistics office of Georgia (GEOSTAT) has started publishing the wage gap, according to which, the corrected wage gap is 21,4%.  However, self-employed persons in agriculture are also included here. But the difference between those employed by hiring is not less than 30%. Under this conditions, Georgia still does not have legislation, that would oblige companies to eliminate this discriminatory difference.

There is also no decent minimum wage in the Country, which should reduce the wage gap and women’s income lag.  

Paying maternity leave is an important issue for women. This year, social allowance, which is given to employees in private companies once, has increased from 1000 to 2000 GEL. This increase is certainly welcome, but in the conditions of high inflation, when this amount is only 21% of the official average salary of the country for 6 months, it is not enough and it is necessary to pay maternity leave in full, in accordance with the existing salary.

The Representation of women in decision-making and leadership position is still low. Only 5.1% of female employees hold a managerial position, while the same figure is 7.2 % among men.

The practice of the Georgian Trade Unions Confederation shows, that there are still frequent cases of discriminatory treatment of women at workplaces, including, because of pregnancy or other family obligations.

The trend of poverty among women is also increasing. 289 thousand (56% of the total) are women, among the persons receiving subsistence allowance.  

The real picture in the country is much worse than these data, especially for women employed in the informal sector, who cannot even enjoy basic labour guaranties.

Based on the above, it is necessary for the state to take effectivesteps to ensure the protection of women’s labour rights, including:

Decent compensation for “maternity leave” should be determined for all employees and Georgia should ratify the conventions N.156 (on “employees who have family responsibilities) and N.183 (on “Maternity Protection”) of the ILO;

Ratify ILO conventions N.189 on “Family Employees” and N.190 on “Violence and Harassment”;

Establish a decent minimum wage in accordance with international standards;

Establish unemployment allowance;

· Develop a labour value measurement/estimation methodology for all companies and create a legal obligation for companies to provide equal pay for work of equal value.  

· Take measures to formalize informal employment;

. Strengthen investment in the care economy;

· Take measures for encouraging women’s economic activity;