Gender and Jobs in Georgia: Some Research-Based Insights
The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), a nonprofit network of research and training centers in the South Caucasus, recently released a report by Georgian journalist Mariam Naskidashvili that provides some fascinating insights on Georgians’ attitudes toward work, education, and behaviors as they relate to gender.
For example, the vast majority of Georgians (83%) of both sexes believe that a man should be the main breadwinner in the family - despite the fact that people more often think that women are, in reality, the main income earners in Georgian families. In the public sphere, attitudes appear to be less conservative, with the majority agreeing that women should have as much right to higher education (72%) and jobs (58%) as men.
Unsurprisingly, there are also some differences between the attitudes of men and women: Georgian women are almost twice as likely as men to say that they would be “completely comfortable” having a female boss. These results echo some of my anecdotal observations in Georgia when I served as a summer fellow at CRRC in Tbilisi a few years ago - from the preponderance of women pursuing advanced degrees in universities to the tales of (male) taxi drivers about the difficulties of finding employment.
In my work on IREX's research support programs, we also aim to support and promote quality, policy-relevant research on the region. To take one example, the research of a recent participant in the IREX/Woodrow Wilson Center Regional Policy Symposium, Peter Kabachnik, addresses many similar themes of employment and gender through the lenses of geography and displacement by investigating the trauma experienced by displaced men in Georgia after the disruption of their traditional gender roles as breadwinners.
I look forward to seeing further research on these critical topics, and continue to be impressed by CRRC's support of young social scientists from the South Caucasus and its commitment to producing evidence-based research that informs the work of organizations such as IREX, both in the area of gender and more broadly.