For a Gender-balanced Education in Kutaisi

Organization: Sukhumi Fund

Location: Kutaisi, Georgia

Years: 2014-2015

The Sukhumi Fund organization has been pursuing equality of social rights between women and men for a number of years. With support from NESEHNUTÍ the initiative recently launched a campaign aimed at transforming local politics through adopting a gender-balanced budget of the second largest Georgian city of Kutaisi.

The establishment of a commission for gender issues was its first success at the municipal level. It helped enforce balanced standards reflecting the impacts on women, men and their needs without favouring one of the genders. The standards shall be instrumental in the preparation and approval processes of the municipal decrees and budget. Female and male city councillors together with experts of educational, media and medical backgrounds participate in the commission’s activities. Non-profit organizations as well as the public also have a say in the commission’s decision-making.

One of the commission’s major aims is to earmark municipal funds for gender education of men and women teachers in kindergartens. This is because kindergarten is a place where children often assume their first gender stereotypes. For example girls automatically get dolls and boys cars to play with.

In early 2015, NESEHNUTÍ and Sukhumi Fund jointly organized a training on gender issues in school education designed particularly for the male and female members of the gender commission but open also to other interested people from state administration ranks and the general public. The attendants did not only learn about “gender” but also about European, especially Czech and German, experience in this sphere.

It is its intention to run pilot gender education of men and women teachers in Georgia and to expand it in the coming years to elementary and secondary schools. This should facilitate educating children in an environment of equal rights.

During the preparation of the 2015 municipal budget the commission succeeded in including some expenditures related with a gender-balanced budget. Its current mission is to introduce gender education into everyday pre-schooling.