The Heinrich Boell Foundation - Tbilisi Office, has been working on conflict transformation since it began its activities in the South Caucasus in 2003. During this time, the Foundation, together with its partner organizations and local and foreign experts, has implemented a wide range of educational, publishing and confidence-building projects. One of the main focuses of our work on conflict transformation has been to emphasize gender-sensitive perspectives regarding conflict de-escalation and sustainable peacebuilding in the South Caucasus.
The idea to publish the book Women During and After the War came about for two main reasons: on the one hand, political agendas have not prioritized the problems that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) face. In fact, IDP voices are rarely heard within society, and when they are, it’s either when they organize protests to demand adequate housing or when they enter some of the buildings and demand that government register these buildings as their private property. Despite the fact that the IDP resettlement process has been ongoing for years, many media outlets have painted an incomplete picture of their plight, depicting IDPs as desperate people in search of apartments. This is a very dominant image of IDPs among Georgian society today and a very problematic one at that, as it omits many important challenges that IDPs face each and every day, including high unemployment and the existing structural challenges the IDP community faces.
Additionally, political parties seem not to fully understand the complex realities of life as an IDP and have failed to leverage their political platforms (for example, the Parliament of Georgia) to address the concerns of IDPs. As a result, IDP frustration with political parties and politics in general has grown and so has their level of political disengagement.
Thus, we think that in order to resolve some of the most pressing problems that IDPs face, it is crucial to bring this issue back on to the agendas of the media, political parties, and society in general. By publishing this book, we want to shed light on the experiences of different waves of IDPs in Georgia; the structural problems they face, the challenges that IDP women view as barriers to their political participation in formal political structures, and to analyze the role IDP women play in the peace-building process.
The second goal of this book is to contribute to academic discussions regarding the intersection of gender and conflict in Georgia. In general, one could say that while discussing conflicts in Georgia, women’s narratives, experiences and the difficulties women face during and after military operations, have not been discussed or well researched. Researchers around the world who work in the field of war and peace studies pay special attention to the gender aspects of conflicts and routinely underscore the role women play - not just in the official peace negotiations processes, but also to women’s influence in the creation of new platforms that are needed to achieve social change in post-conflict societies. On the other hand, there are discussions within feminist theory circles that focus on how gender roles are mobilized to create nationalist discourses. The interconnection between gender and conflict is of special interest to feminist and war and peace researchers alike, which in turn fosters important discussions on the topic. Taking into account that there are very few academic articles on this topic published in the Georgian language, we wanted to help fill this gap by putting forward the main aspects of the academic debates that are especially relevant for Georgia in this sphere of study.
The book starts with Tamar Tskhadadze’s introduction and is followed by a section titled Feminist Perspectives on War and Forced Settlement by Nargiza Arjevanidze. The next section titled IDP Women’s Experience in Georgia: From Survival to Self-assertion is written by Eliko Bendeliani and Natia Chankvetadze. The book contains several photos, which depict the everyday lives of IDP women in Georgia.
We hope that Women During and After the War will be interesting for academics and researchers working on feminist perspectives on war, militarism and patriarchy, as well as for journalists, politicians, and decision-makers in charge of designing and implementing policy strategies and actions for IDPs in Georgia. Most importantly, we hope that this book will prove especially valuable to the IDP community in Georgia and that this pressing issue receives the wider public attention that it so deserves.
Dr. Stefan Meister Lilia Chikhladze
Head of Office Programme Coordinator
Table of contents
რედაქტორის წინასიტყვაობა (თამარ ცხადაძე)
ნაწილი 1. ფემინისტური პერსპექტივა ომსა და იძლებით გადაადგილებაზე (ნ. არჯევანიძე)
I თავი. ცნებების ისტორია: იძულებითი გადაადგილება, ლტოლვილი, დევნილი
II თავი. გენდერი და ომი
III თავი. ომი და ქალთა პოლიტიკური აქტივიზმი
ნაწილი 2. გადარჩენიდან თვითდამკვიდრებამდე: დევნილი ქალები საქართველოში (ნ. ჭანკვეტაძე, ე. ბენდელიანი, კვლევის ხელმძღვანელი: ნ. კალანდარიშვილი)
I თავი. დევნილები საქართველოში
II თავი. ცხოვრება დევნილობაში
III თავი. დევნილი ქალების გამოცდილება საქართველოში