ISET

It may appear as though the subject of gender and gender norms is a fairly recent socio-political phenomenon – particularly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia – but it does, in fact, have a longer history than might initially be thought, even in the former Soviet Union; its effects can still be felt and observed today.

Dr. Ekaterina Zhuravskaya of the Paris School of Economics visited ISET on May 27 to discuss the topic. ‘Diffusion of Gender Norms: Evidence from Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations’ delved into the effects of mass Soviet deportations of populations from their homes in the western parts of the Soviet Union to far-flung areas of Central Asia and Siberia. In excess of two million people were evicted from their homes and relocated, a horrifying process which nevertheless altered the perceptions of gender norms in the new places they were forced to call home.

Although Georgia has made significant strides on its developmental path over the last decade, and its ambitions to fully join Western bodies such as NATO and the European Union no longer seem a far-fetched dream, there are sectors of society which have not benefited from the full attention and aid given to other areas.

The life of disabled people anywhere is, of course, unimaginably hard, but in Georgia matters are even more complicated. The country’s economy has barely been strong enough to support its able-bodied population, let alone those with special needs. After Georgia signed the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2014, progress has been made, and the situation is not as dire as it once was; disabled access to buildings and public spaces is becoming increasingly common, but significant challenges remain.

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