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mains a serious challenge within Georgian political parties, consideringthelow femalerepresentation in thenational legislativebody.andpoliticalparli'Shos not beenbus'dOil 1()I'Il111r'p,uldLiol)sorlnstitu-tional practices and mechanisms, but is of a more ad ho haractcr. Thesystem for selecting candidates and how they get011party lists remainsgrounded in principles that are not favorable to women. While most ofthepolitical parties have adopted theprinciples ofdemocracy intheir ap-proaches, strategies, and programs, achieving gender balance remains aserious challenge inside theparties, resulting inlowfemalerepresentationinthenational legislative body.Researchconducted byTamarBagratiaand Medea Badashvili onsevenGeorgian political parties indicates that allofthem made declarative state-ments supporting gender equality and women's inclusion inparty politics,and none provided clear-cut policies or advancement strategies toensuregender parity.Most oftheinitiatives were ad hoc and unsystematic. Withregard togender parity policies,theauthors identify twotypes ofpoliticalparties: those that do and those that do not have mechanisms in place toensure gender equality. Parties that do have some mechanisms, such as awomen's branch, are better able to secure some level ofadvancement forwomen in terms of their visibility and levels of responsibility. Even so,no party has institutionalized gender equality by means ofits statutes orbylaws (Bagratia and Badashvili2011).In those parties that have madesomeeffort tobe more inclusive by means ofspecial groups orbranches,women's standing remains weak.Furthermore, analysis ofpolitical parties from agender perspective in-dicates that by2010thenumber ofregistered political parties had reachedtwo hundred; however, only a few of them were politically active, andgeneral public awareness of their agenda has been rather low (Bagratiaand Badashvili2011).Although parties are fragmented, still the party asan entity remains the main arena and entry point for women's politicalparticipation and representation in the Parliament. Therefore, while notallthe political parties acknowledge the importance ofwomen's inclusionand have no comprehension ofthe positive sidesofwomen's engagementin political decision making and party life, establishing gender paritywithin parties becomes an indicator of a party's level of democracy, andtherefore isan important factor forwomen's political advancement (ibid.;Chkheidze2014).Itisnotable that women comprised 29percent ofthe registered candi-dates for the2012parliamentary elections in Georgia. Sixof the sixteenregistered political parties that participated in these elections respondedto the financial incentives incorporated into the Organic Law ofGeorgiaon Political Union of Citizens in2011to voluntarily include women intheir party lists.Thetwoleading politicalparties-UNM and theGeorgianDream coalition-put forth the least number of women candidates and
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