Women in the Georgian Labor Market

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The FINANCIAL — Until she gave birth to her forth child a year ago, 36 years old Tina Pruidze worked as a lawyer in one of the companies in Tbilisi.


Now her days are spent on caring of her children and looking for a new job, but no result yet.


“No one forced me to leave the company. I made a decision myself that it was better to look after my children”, said Tina. “Now as they are not so much depended on me, I am ready to start working again. But now, as I see employers do not want to hire me again because of my big family,” said Tina Pruidze.

Women like Pruidze create a high unemployment rate in Georgia nowadays. In reviewing women’s employment on the bases of existing statistics it is evident that in 2011 from 344.3 thousand employed people 39.0 percent are women and 61.0 percent are men. Statistics shows that mostly women are employed in small and medium business. The average monthly wages generally amounted to GEL 717.7 in business sector, but for women – GEL 505.3. The majority of women are employed in health care and social assistance. According to the total number of employers by sex divided in the regions 61.0 percent of women are employed in Tbilisi. As for men, 59.7 percent are employed in the capital city.

There are different reasons for the low rate of employment among Georgian women, most important of which are that a large number of Georgian women are housewives. “The reason why women have small percentages among the employed can be their physiological condition,” said Nodar Khaduri, Economist. “Women get pregnant, they take time off for maternity leave and they have to stop their work. Also, women are mothers and they have to care about their children. Scholl and some additional lessons such as dance and piano classes are mother’s obligations. Because of these reasons in some cases women refuse work themselves or employers avoid giving them a work. Because, some work needs much time and mobilization. However, some ministries and organizations have to employ women because of their efficiency in doing certain jobs. Among them mention can be made of Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health,” Khaduri added.

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CARE International in the Caucasus contends there is tremendous untapped productivity in the potential Georgian workforce. This is due to the under-utilization of women interested in participating in the formal economy. “A patriarchal culture which favours men’s employment over that of women has the effect of confining some women to domestic labour despite their interest in gaining employment outside the home,” said Thomas Reynolds, Mission Director of CARE International in the Caucasus. “Studies indicate women in Georgia tend to seek jobs when men are unemployed; both men and women agree that men should be breadwinner of the family. This is a prevailing situation despite equivalent levels of education between men and women,” added Reynolds.

“In reviewing ownership of assets, women own less land, businesses, and other assets which can be used as collateral for obtaining commercial loans or micro credits. Thus, their chances of starting business are reduced,” he added. 

Another reason of women’s unemployment is that mostly developed fields in Georgia are suitable only for men. “There is a disproportion of sector development. For example, it is developed construction of hospitals, roads and so on. These fields need men employment, men force. It is impossible to employ a woman,” said Levan Gogoladze, Economist. “On the other hand, there are some sectors where both men and women are equally employed. For example, bank sector. In my opinion, this result is not caused by some discriminated factors,” he added.

The economists believe that the number of employed women is much higher than the statistics show. “The major part of women is employed in informal sector. I mean the job which does not need registration. For example, nurses, carer and similar jobs. So it cannot be added in the statistic” said Khaduri.

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On the example of New Service, an employment agency, among employed people women make up the majority. “Our service includes family support such as nurse, family supporter, elderly nursing and maid. On the above positions women are more demanded then men,” said Tamuna Lomidze, Manager of New Service. “An employer prefers a candidate to be married, but not to have children. Because, sometimes the work requires round-the-clock schedule. An employer also prefers women have to be from age group 45-55. Last year, the number of employees in various positions amounted to 80. The most demanded positions were nurse and family supporter,” she added.

“In offices women are more employed then men. The directors prefer to be surrounded by well-looking women. Because the high unemployment rate in the country the directors face a big choice. They choose a candidate who suits all the requirements. So charming women should not have unemployment problem,” said Administrator of JobGeo.Com, an employment agency. “However, I would say that there is age and sex discrimination in the workplace in Georgia. If you are not of the age or sex they choose, you lose. This happens because Labor Code is carelessness. There is no culture of employment in the country. Employers wrapped up their interests to employers and employment agencies and create the demand on labor market according to their interests,” he added.



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