On 10th anniversary of UN resolution 1325 people of South Caucasus are ready for greater women's political involvement, protection of women's rights.
To mark the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, CARE International in the Caucasus together with NGO partners across the South Caucasus polled 394 people in 24 communities on their awareness of and attitudes towards women's political participation and women's rights. Polling covered men and women of different ages and educational background in the region's main cities, regional towns as well as rural areas and displaced persons' camps.
63% of respondents (53% of men and 71% of women) thought that there was a problem of gender inequality in political representation in their respective country, and as many as 67% of respondents (53% of men and 77% of women) were in favour of enacting laws to increase women's participation in politics. However, when asked, 26% of respondents (34% of men and 19% of women) said that they were not prepared to vote for a woman for president. The good news, though, for women's political participation is that 30% of people said that they would very much like to vote for a woman (though none put themselves forward for that post).
The research also shows that despite laws introduced across the South Caucasus on domestic violence, very few people would report such behaviour to the police (15%). 76% of respondents (84% of women and 67% of men) thought that there was a need for more laws to protect women's rights.
Respondents also indicated that there was a need to have women at the peace talks. 62% thought that the inclusion of more women would make a difference to their progress. At present, no delegation in the region has more than one female representative.
“There are some very interesting findings,” said Anthony Foreman of CARE International in the Caucasus, manager of the project. “There were areas in which we thought we knew what sort of answers to expect, but were very encouraged that the results show an apparent demand for greater women's participation and protection of women's rights. We realize that there are limitations to this research, but we hope that these results provide enough food for thought to encourage governments to take gender equality issues more seriously and do their own research on public attitudes to these issues.”
The survey was conducted in 24 communities by NGOs from across the South Caucasus working together under the project “Strengthening women's capacity for Peacebuilding in the South Caucasus region”. Respondents were selected at random, within the target areas, though a minimum quota was set for researchers to ensure that all age groups, educational levels and employment categories were represented. Interviews involved 15 multiple-choice questions related to the main topics of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and were conducted face-to-face by researchers in each of the target areas.
Research was conducted in the projects' target areas and main cities by CARE International in the Caucasus' NGO partners: the Association of Women of Abkhazia, Armenian Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, Centre for Civilian Initiatives, IDP Women's Association Consent and the Women's Institute from Azerbaijan. The research was carried out to mark the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls for greater inclusion of women in political participation, prevention of conflicts, and post-conflict reconstruction, as well as greater protection of women in post-conflict countries.
Strengthening women's capacity for Peacebuilding in the South Caucasus region is implemented by CARE International in the Caucasus and funded by the European Union, with support from the Austrian Development Cooperation and Cooperation for Eastern Europe (ADC). The project's objective is to support partner NGOs from across the South Caucasus to create an enabling environment where marginalized women from conflict-affected communities can protect their rights and take active part in decision-making.
CARE is a leading humanitarian organization helping 65m people each year in 72 countries fight poverty. CARE has been working in the Caucasus for more than 20 years and assists socially and economically disempowered individuals to realize their potential and find lasting solutions to their most threatening problems. For more information about CARE, please visit www.care-caucasus.org.ge.