October 19-20 witnessed the largest and most high-profile event of ISET’s year: the international conference on gender economics entitled ‘Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Time of Crisis’. The two-day event, hosted by ISET and the FREE Network (the Forum for Research on Eastern Europe and Emerging Economies), attracted academics from 15 countries, including Australia, India, the USA, 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, Ms. Eva Atterlöv, Deputy Head of Development Cooperation, and Ms. Kaori Ishikawa, UN Women’s Country Representative to Georgia, also addressed the guests in attendance highlighting the importance of the topic.
The conference participants were addressed by two keynote speakers, Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Brainerd, Susan and Barton Winokur Professor of Economics and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Brandeis University, and Prof. Dr. Maria Floro, Professor Emerita Economics, American University in Washington, DC. 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, Davit Keshelava of the ISET Policy Institute’s research team presented ISET’s recently launched regional Gender Equality Index, a new policy product of the ISET Policy Institute, which monitors 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 moderated by Tamar Sulukhia of ISET Policy Institute and represented by Nino Okribelashvili, Vice-Rector for Research, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University; Nino Chelidze, Women’s Initiative for Security and Equity (WISE), Program Director, Mercy Corps; Nani Bendeliani, Project Analyst, UN Women; and Nino Lortkipanidze, Women in Tech Ambassador for Georgia, Chief Innovation Officer, The Crossroads. The discussion focused on the regional challenges to gender equality in the South Caucasus as a whole and policy solutions to address these challenges.