updated: 5 March, 2007
International Fund for Agricultural Development

Since independence, Georgia has experienced civil strife, territorial conflicts and a severe economic crisis. Poverty is widespread, especially in remote mountainous regions. Agriculture employs more than half the population, twice the level as before the transition when industry played a greater role. Reforms are helping to improve Georgia’s economy, but a weak tax base and other structural problems contribute to increasing budget deficits. With its revenues low, the Government is unable to provide its citizens with essential social and welfare services.

GeorgiaGeorgian society is a traditional one, with well-defined roles for men as breadwinners and women as child-bearers. With the transition, social benefits such as day-care and kindergarten diminished, leading to a drop in women’s participation in the job market. Only a third of young Georgian women are economically active, most in the informal sector. Women tend to work in education and health care, where their earning potential is low. Many women are unemployed or underemployed, and compared to men are poorer and contribute more unpaid labour to the household.

The majority of poor people live and work in rural areas. Most rural women work in agriculture, but without resources to purchase fertilizer, better seeds and other inputs, their yields tend to be low. Worsening poverty has also taken its toll on men, as their inability to fulfil their traditional role as food providers has led to an increased incidence of alcoholism and heart disease.

About 20 per cent of the Georgian population has migrated in search of work over the last decade, leaving just 100 men to every 124 women, and the rate of male depopulation is increasing. Migration causes gender and age imbalances and a loss of many of the country’s most active citizens. This puts greater demands on women, who increasingly assume the role of breadwinner.

Trafficking in people is a growing problem, primarily affecting women and children.  Georgia is a source and transit country for women and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour. The Government’s efforts to tackle the problem are limited. Trafficking is not prosecuted as a separate offence and no legal measures exist to combat it. A draft law on Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Persons and on Protection, Assistance and Rehabilitation of the Victims of Trafficking in Persons is currently being discussed by Parliament. It will facilitate cooperation to counter human trafficking among state agencies and non-governmental organizations on the national and international level, marking a significant step toward the creation of effective legislation.

The Georgian constitution provides equal status for men and women, but no law specifically prohibits discrimination against women on the basis of gender or marital status. The Georgian Parliament ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1994. In 1998, the Government approved a first National Action Plan for improving the conditions of women, which was then revised in 2002, and again in 2004. The plan highlights seven priority areas, including institutional mechanisms, women's participation in decision-making, economic policies, poverty, armed conflict, health and women's rights. But it lacks the mechanisms necessary for implementation.

Source: IFAD


Facts and figures
  • There are 5.1 million people living in Georgia; 51 per cent are women
  • Georgia is one of the poorest countries in the region, with a per capita gross national income of only US$830
  • More than 85 per cent of Georgia’s population is poor, with 15 to 17 per cent living in extreme poverty
  • The majority of poor people live in rural areas women
  • Over the last decade, 20 per cent of Georgia’s population has migrated abroad
  • The majority of people working in rural areas are self-employed; most are women
  • Salaries in Georgia are low. Women especially tend to work in lower paying sectors, for example teaching, where monthly pay averages US$24
  • More than 57 per cent of Georgians earn less than the minimum subsistence level
  • Agriculture employs more than half the population – between 52 and 54 per cent of the total. Women make up a large percentage of that, though official figure stands at only 17 per cent
  • According to official figures, 11 per cent of Georgian women are unemployed. The actual figure may be closer to 50 or 60 per cent
  • Women earn only 40 per cent of a man’s income
  • Georgia has a very high literacy rate: 99 per cent for both men and women
  • Over the last ten years, maternal mortality has doubled while prenatal care has dropped from almost 100 per cent to just below 60 per cent
  • Georgian women hold 7 per cent of seats in Parliament
  • Women head more than a quarter of households, and have a higher chance of being poor than men
  • More statistics
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Contact information

Ms. Lenyara Khayasedinova
Programme Coordinator
Gender Mainstreaming Programme for Central, Eastern Europe and Newly Independent States
Via Paolo di Dono, 44
00142 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 0654592686
Fax: +39 0654593686