FEMINIST ACTIVISM AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN GEORGIA: 25 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

Tamar Jakeli Joshua Sanborn History Lafayette College 111 Quad Drive, Easton, PA 18042

Despite vast research on feminist movements in post-Soviet Eastern Europe, little is known about the experiences of Georgian women after 1991. This study is an attempt to rectify this knowledge gap through qualitative, in-depth interviews with Georgian feminist scholars, activists, and groups, conducted in May 2016 in Tbilisi, and the review of existing literature on Eastern European women’s movements. How did the nature of feminist activism change within last 25 years? What are the rights, achievements, and challenges of Georgian women today? The author has found that: 1) Georgian independence was followed by the establishment of Western-funded women’s rights NGOs. Although the achievements of this period, theoretically framed by Sabine Lang as NGOization, are controversial, they prepared the ground for feminist work done today. 2) The Georgian feminist grassroots movement began in 2011, when the first informal group with feminist self-identification, the Independent Group of Feminists, was formed. It was followed by the Partisan Girls in 2012, and the Women’s Movement in 2014. With the exception of Women’s Gaze, a student initiative, these groups have been reactive, responsible for street demonstrations to stop violence against women, instead of developing a proactive approach. The grassroots groups have challenged the lack of solidarity characterizing NGOization period. Despite greater intersectionality of activism, however, certain feminists, such as lesbian feminists, are still marginalized within the movement. 3) Georgian women continue to experience domestic violence, early marriage, political underrepresentation, limited economic opportunities, and discrimination. While Georgian liberal feminists think that gender equality should be viewed as a multi-generational project, more radical, leftist feminists believe that they have to reorganize the system of power. This study utilizes an untapped source of Georgian history, and will contribute to future research on similar topics.


Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Tamar Jakeli

Institution: Lafayette College

Type: Poster

Subject: International Studies

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 6
Date/Time: Fri 12:00pm-1:00pm
Location: University Center Ballroom - Tripod 62 Side A