Focus on Needs of Women Voters in Georgian Regions
Despite the fact that women represent majority of all registered voters in Georgia (53, 7%), their participation in elections and political processes is very low. Due to their low civic engagement, women’s needs are rarely considered by decision makers and/or election candidates.
In order to increase politicians’ awareness of and sensitivity towards women voters’ priority issues, EWMI ACCESS and CiDA initiated a questionnaire survey in 10 regions of Georgia to identify top problems that women face, and use the pre-election period to present these issues to the election candidates for consideration. 23 regional civil society organizations (members of the Regional Civil Society Network – R-CSN) interviewed 1106 women in 10 regions of Georgia and after summarizing questionnaire findings, presented them to a large audience of CSOs, election candidates and journalists on October 17. Presentation was held in Tbilisi and it received wide media coverage both in Tbilisi and in the regional media. In parallel to the presentation, the regional media interviewed local CSOs (who conducted the survey) to discuss the survey findings and major problems as identified by women in their respective regions.
During post-election period, ACCESS will continue to support regional CSOs to follow-up on these issues and advocate that the elected decision-makers address the needs and priorities of women voters. The most frequently cited problems that women respondents identified through the survey are:
- Poor roads and sidewalks with no pavements (posing danger and causing difficulties while commuting with kids and a stroller);
- Inaccessibility to drinking water at homes (including lack of water, or water on a schedule that make household chores and cattle grooming extremely hard to manage);
- Lack or poorly managed parks and recreation areas, as well as outdoor lighting (children do not have spaces for entertainment);
- Poor access to and quality of kindergartens (unavailable spaces for more students at kindergartens and/or inflexible working hours forcing mothers to be late for work and/or leave offices early to pick up their children from kindergartens).
- Lack or regular waste collection and disposal services.
The survey’s interesting finding was that 67% of respondents’ state that they would vote for a candidate who addresses women’s problems and interests in his/her electoral program.
A full report written in Georgian is available here.