On March 2, 2017, partners and supporters of the MenCare campaign in Tbilisi held an event to celebrate Georgia’s Gender Week and to reinforce men’s support for achieving gender equality.
Gender Week, led by the United Nations in Georgia, in cooperation with the Government, Parliament, civil society, private sector and international partners, celebrates the progress made towards gender equality and highlights areas that require further attention.
These partners and supporters, who believe that gender equality is an important issue not only for women, but also for men and for society at large, are striving to expand their network and to engage more men in public discourse about achieving real equality between men and women. The event brought together more than 100 participants, including politicians, government representatives, artists, scientists, athletes, writers, and musicians.
Speakers at the event highlighted the importance of men’s involvement as equitable, nonviolent fathers and caregivers in order to achieve family well-being, gender equality, and better health for mothers, fathers, and children. They shared success stories and called the audience’s attention to related advocacy issues, including introducing an official Father’s Day on June 19 and promoting paternity leave in Georgia.
The MenCare campaign was launched in Georgia by UNFPA in partnership with the NGO We Care in July 2016, within the framework of the United Nations Joint Programme for Gender Equality. Coordinators attribute the campaign’s success over the past year to the fact that it is evidence-based and that it takes into account the existing socio-cultural context of Georgia.
Research findings confirm that existing stereotypes and established clichés in Georgia prevent men from taking on roles as caring fathers, husbands, partners, and family members. It also suggests the existence of rigid social norms and expectations. Based on the findings of the survey Men and Gender Relations in Georgia, conducted with UNFPA’s support in 2013, the share of men involved in daily childcare activities such as selecting books for their children to read, talking with teachers at school, helping their children with homework, and washing their clothes, does not exceed five percent.
Kakha Kaladze, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Energy of Georgia, attended the Gender Week event, showing his strong support:
We have to acknowledge and see the problems that exist in our country and society. I’m glad to see that we gathered here to openly talk about equality, fatherhood, more engagement of men as caring fathers and equal partners. I applaud the initiative MenCare campaign in Georgia and the implementation of this project; I would like to express my support as a fellow citizen and a Vice Prime Minister of Georgia.
Lela Bakradze, UNFPA Georgia Assistant Representative, emphasized the positive impact that men’s involvement in fatherhood can have on promoting gender equality and preventing violence:
It is very encouraging that the campaign has gained popularity among men. Together with partners, we have already started expanding MenCare in other regions of Georgia so that more men embrace the idea and the aim of the campaign. Changing men’s attitudes will help to advance gender equality and reduce violence.
MenCare Georgia’s Gender Week event was organized by UNFPA Georgia’s Country Office in partnership with the NGO We Care, and it was funded by the Government of Sweden.
For more information about the event, email Salome Benidze, Communications and Advocacy Officer, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Georgia Office.