Transcript of DCM’s Press Interviews on Empowered Women for Peace and Development Closing Ceremony (December 22)
The U.S. Embassy, through the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Initiatives Grants Program, is pleased to have supported the Women’s Information Center’s project to empower women by improving access to education and active participation in the economy. Not only does this work benefit individual women, many of whom are internally-displaced, it helps Georgia’s economy grow in a sustainable way.
Q-n: About today’s event, and also how it is important to work on the rights of women in Georgia and what are the concerns regarding that in Georgia?
A: So, today’s event is the presentation of the results of a project on women’s initiative. Part of the purpose was to create women’s empowerment groups—groups of women working on economic issues, but also there is a component to this [project] which is looking at women as a factor in peacebuilding and building connections between people. A lot of the projects that took place under this program were in areas along the occupied territories of Georgia, where communities have been broken apart, and so where this particular role the women can play in creating connections among communities has particular importance. And this is all part of a larger program that the United States government has supported now for many years through the Department of State’s office of Global Women’s Issues. The view here is to invest in women. Women, of course not only are half of humanity, but multiple, multiple studies have demonstrated that women’s empowerment, women’s full participation in the economic life of a country leads to far better outcomes both economically, in terms of prosperity, but also educationally. So, this is a really important thing. Clearly, here in Georgia something has been prioritized not only by the United States, but also by the government of Georgia. So, we are very happy to be partners here because we feel it is very important to support women’s full inclusion in the political and economic life of this country.
Q-n: First of all your comment about today’s event, also your cooperation and relationship with the Women’s Information Center.
A: So, first of all this event today is the presentation of a project that the U.S. Embassy is very proud to have sponsored with the Women’s Information Center. And the overall objectives of this have been focused on women’s empowerment. This takes various forms; there have been economic cooperatives that have been developed through this, but also information, and a look at women’s role in bridging conflicts. The project was financed by an office in the U.S. Department of State, which is the office of Global Women’s Issues. One of the goals of the office has been to work on women’s empowerment globally. The reason for this is that research has demonstrated again and again that in places where women are full participants in society both economically and politically, these societies ultimately have higher levels of prosperity and well-being for all their citizens. Another important element of this project also looks at the role of women as peacebuilders, women as people who can bring communities together. So, lot of the projects that were sponsored here were along the edges of Georgia’s occupied territories—in other words next to communities that have been split apart by conflict. And, so, women can play an important role helping to heal these communities to bring people back together. All of this fits in with the goal of not only the United States, but I think of Georgia as well, to work to really create a society where women are full participants to their full potential and capacity. I think we know that ultimately means a more prosperous, more peaceful, more stable Georgia. So we are very happy to be able to support that.
Q-n: How was this important project implemented, and what are the concerning issues regarding women, and what should be done in the future to advance their rights and participation?
A: Well, this was the presentation of the results of this project; it was supported by the U.S. Embassy here in Tbilisi through our office of Global Women’s Issues and our Department of State. The objective of this project was to assist with women’s empowerment, to help make women in Georgia more economically independent, but also with the view to looking at the role that women can play as bridge builders and those who can bring communities together. A very important element of this, I think, is based on research that has been carried out in numerous countries throughout the world, and that is in countries that empower women, where women are full participants in the economic and political life of the country, those countries are not only more stable, those countries are more prosperous. So, we think it is a very important goal to pursue in Georgia; we know the government is also committed to this, and we are very pleased to also support in the ways that we do all this for Georgia. Thank you.