ISET hosts its first international conference on gender economics. Key note speakers from World Bank and UN Women HQs give addresses
Monday, 18 November, 2019

November 15-16 witnessed the largest and most high-profile event of ISET’s year: the first international conference on gender economics entitled ‘Removing Obstacles to Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment’. The two-day event, hosted by ISET and the FREE Network (the Forum for Research On Eastern Europe and Emerging Economies), attracted academics from 14 countries, including Australia, India, Canada, the countries of the South Caucasus, Eastern and Western Europe.

The conference began with an opening address from Dr. Tamar Sulukhia, Director of ISET, who thanked ISET partners and the conference’s main sponsor, the Swedish government, for its support and commitment to the issues of women’s empowerment in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. Dr. George Sharvashide, Rector of TSU, Mr. Erik Illes, Head of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and Ms. Ekaterine Mikabadze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, also addressed the guests in attendance highlighting the importance of the topic.

The conference participants were addressed by two keynote speakers, Dr. Caren Grown, Senior Director for Gender of the World Bank, and Dr. Shahra Razavi, Chief of Research and Data at the UN Women HQ in New York City. They both drew attention to gender inequality in the world, with working women still earning 36% less than men on average. The ISET Policy Institute presentation which followed complemented the points made by the two speakers. In particular, ISET-PI presented its own regional Gender Equality Index, a new policy product of the ISET Policy Institute, which will help monitor the progress on gender equality in the South Caucasus and beyond, and in this way contribute to evidence-based policymaking.

The conference also featured a high-profile Policy Panel represented by Erika Kvapilova, Country Representative of UN Women to Georgia; Marina Tabukashvili, Director General of the Taso Foundation NGO; Mariam Jashi, Member of the Parliament of Georgia; and Sebastian Molineus, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. The discussion focused on the regional challenges to gender equality in the South Caucasus as a whole and policy solutions to address these challenges.