Tbilisi, 8 March 2021—The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) joins the global celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) today to reiterate support for continued efforts to advance gender equality. This year’s global campaign theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 is rolling back the progress made toward the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The effects of the pandemic are worsening existing obstacles to women’s participation and decision-making in all aspects of public life, including in peace and security.
“Women, including those affected by the conflict, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to bear the brunt of the consequences. This is true worldwide, but also here in Georgia. As women have been negatively affected, they have also shown remarkable resilience and powerful action in responding to the pandemic on the frontlines, as health workers, community organizers, peacebuilders and decision-makers. We must do more to further promote women’s meaningful participation, including in building more peaceful and secure societies for all,” says EUMM Head of Mission Marek Szczygiel.
Women’s participation in EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Missions, especially at leadership level, continues to remain low. At EUMM, women currently make up only 28% of international seconded staff members, and overall 44% of the senior management team.
“The low number of women working at EUMM and other CSDP Missions remains a critical gap on the road to advancing gender equality. Increasing women’s meaningful participation is a key component of more effective civilian crisis management and peacebuilding. We must walk the walk on advancing gender equality and parity, not just talk the talk,” says Kate Fearon, Deputy Head of Mission.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot overstate the urgency of taking concrete steps to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, especially in conflict-affected contexts. Integrating a gender perspective into all aspects of EUMM’s work and ensuring women’s equal and meaningful participation remains a priority for achieving meaningful results,” says Sini Ramo, EUMM Gender Adviser.
EUMM continues to implement a comprehensive Gender Action Plan to advance gender equality in its operations. Last year, the Mission announced its commitment to ensuring gender parity among participants in the Ergneti Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) and the Geneva International Discussions from the Mission side. On today’s International Women’s Day, the Mission published its bi-annual report Gender Mainstreaming: Best Practices and Lessons Learned.
As part of this year’s 8 March activities, EUMM will organise a roundtable discussion on women’s economic empowerment with local authorities and conflict-affected communities through its Field Office in Gori. EUMM Field Office Mtskheta will organise an online information sharing meeting with civil society, focusing on challenges in the way of women’s leadership in the COVID-19 context. EUMM will also host an online event, with a reading of essays written by school students in Gori municipality on the theme of gender-based violence.