Abkhazia: Women Don't Fight for Top Jobs

Traditional expectations create glass ceiling for female leaders.

This film looks at the role of women in Abkhazia, a republic on the Black Sea where traditional values often dictate their roles and limit their expectations.

The city council in the capital Sukhum, for example, has no female members, and women are poorly represented in local authorities elsewhere, and in the national government and parliament.

“There’s a traditional view that women have no business being in parliament,” Dalila Pilia, head of the World Without Violence Centre in Sukhum, said. “It’s like… they should be looking after their children and their homes. That makes it very difficult, particularly for young women, to enter parliament or any area of government.”  

Others say that because women have carved out successful roles for themselves in the NGOs that sprang up after the end of Soviet rule, there is a general expectation that this area, not the workd of politics, is their proper niche.

Journalist Nadezhda Venidiktova says even successful women remain hesitant about putting themselves forward.

“Women here don’t stake a claim to leading positions. They’re prepared to be ministers or members of parliament, but they don’t aspire to the top posts for which you need huge personal ambition,” she said.” Many women still believe it isn’t right for them to step into the limelight.”

This film was made for the Women Connecting for Peace – The Voice of Change project, which is part of the Women for Equality, Peace and Development in Georgia project implemented with UN Women and supported by the Norwegian foreign ministry. Anaid Gogoryan and Elena Lolua, two of the three-person team who produced the film, were among the journalists, bloggers and civil activists from Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Georgia who met in the Armenian capital Yerevan earlier this year for a training, information-sharing and networking session. (See IWPR Caucasus Builds Women's Rights Reporting Network.)