Switzerland joins the celebration of the centennial of Georgian Statistics

Article, 26.07.2019

Women and men do not have identical roles and do not enjoy equal access to education, work or economic resources in the South Caucasus countries. In recognition of the need to strengthen the participation of women in the achievement of sustainable development, Switzerland hand-in-hand with Austria has been supporting the regional Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) project in the South Caucasus. In this endeavor, pertinent data on gender disparities is paramount in addressing the gender inequality problems and devising appropriate policies.

Panel members address the conference participants
Regional conference marks the 100th anniversary of Georgian Statistics ©UN Women

On 25 July 2019 a regional conference “Gender Statistics: Challenges and Opportunities to Report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” kicked off to mark the centennial of the Georgian National Statistics Office (GEOSTAT) and 20 years of collecting gender statistics.

“There is a whole range of activities planned to mark the anniversary of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, including the regional conference hosting the heads of statistics offices from up to 10 countries worldwide. I would like to congratulate every statistician on this milestone, and thank them for their fruitful cooperation. At the same time, I would like to thank UN Women for enabling us to have such a large-scale anniversary to commemorate 100 years of statistics,” stressed Gogita Todradze, the Executive Director of GEOSTAT in his opening remarks.

The Deputy Chairperson of Parliament Tamar Chugoshvili took the floor and thanked all, and international participants in particular for having arrived in Georgia to join the celebration. The Deputy Chairperson highlighted the importance the government attaches to statistics, especially related to gender, as “women’s economic empowerment is our government’s priority. The government focuses on labour rights, access to vocational education and other state programmes for women, and pay gap, in particular. These issues can only be tackled with the help of reliable statistics,” she added.

Werner Thut sitting in the panel addresses the conference participants
Deputy Regional Director of Cooperation Werner Thut talks about the importance of statistics ©UN Women

“Statistics highly matter!” said in his welcoming speech Deputy Regional Director of Cooperation Werner Thut and brought numerous real-life examples from Switzerland’s politics in support to the statement.

„It is obvious: To maintain its independence and support, statistical work needs recognition and trust. For that it needs a voice and a dialogue with its clients: politicians, the academia, citizens. In all that, quality is key. Quality comes with independence (and of course, appropriate funding). The users should not be those who produce them. Statistical offices should be protected by all means against interference of parties, vested interest groups, and even their political masters, the governments.”

The Deputy Regional Director continued by stressing the importance of statistics when working on gender issues and, by showcasing Switzerland’s experience, reminded the audience that the women’s economic empowerment and gender equality are transboundary challenges, also existing in countries with strong economies and long democratic history, such as Switzerland.

In conclusion, Werner Thut joined the partners in congratulating on the 100th anniversary of the Georgian Statistics.      

The event was organized with the initiative of GEOSTAT and UN Women, with the support of the UN Women’s Global Flagship Gender Data Initiative as well as the Governments of Switzerland and Austria. Directors of the national statistics offices of France, Hungary, Italy and the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia, as well as high-level representatives of international organizations, took part in the regional conference. Representatives of the government agencies of Georgia, NGOs, academia and international organizations accredited in Georgia also attended the event.

In a panel discussion, the conference participants discussed, amongst others, the successes achieved towards the nationalization of the SDGs, the collection and dissemination of gender statistics, gender aspects of assets ownership and time use, as well as the challenges revealed by the studies on the violence against women.

A hackathon on gender data visualization also took place as a side-event within the framework of the conference. The activity aimed to raise awareness on statistical data among the youth, including the analysis and application of the data, and to support the development of innovative products.