Barbare Eristavi-Jorjadze 1833-1895

The stories and the challenges that are told by the modern women from Georgia on this page, were in fact first written and talked about by the women living as early as a century ago. Most of you are probably familiar with them – the women who launched women’s movement in Georgia almost a hundred years ago, but we would still like to remind you of them:

Barbare Eristavi-Jorjadze 1833-1895

“From the very first man, every male has accused a female, has placed all the blame on her and has diligently tried to put down and subdue his companion in life. Since early childhood, she was preached “as the Creator has given you the life of a woman, this must be your rule to live by: be quiet, do not look at anyone, do not go anywhere, cover your years, close your eyes and settle down… education and learning other languages is not for you.” Meanwhile, the man grew the wings of vanity and arrogance, occupied a vast arena and said: “as I am a man, I will dash, I will gallop to the end of the world, there is nobody to stop me, I will speak eloquently, I will learn, I will hold in the palm of my hand all the freedom and all the world.” He broadened his horizon and, to finally enslave the woman, persuaded her that without him she will die of hunger… Even in the family, the man disdained the woman’s hard work, he took the advantage of her and teased her: “you have no brain, you have no heart and feelings, you cannot hear anything… you are cruel, treacherous…”

..Our Jesus Christ has stated that man and woman are equal. But the man never sidetracked the path he had taken, as if in doing so he would be committing blasphemy.

Despite such oppression, poor women still found ways to use their wits and talent: even if they were deprived of education they could make best use of their own language to think, analyze, speak, read and write. Who spread knowledge and education, if not women, when men were away, running amok armed, fighting for the homeland?..

.. At least now, the men should stop with their self-importance and envy and let their sisters have equal opportunity to study, find their way in life, so that they can hold modern women accountable and even look up to them. We, the past generation of women are hopeless, beyond cure, but the new generation of women, even if they fail to live up to the expectations, at least will not shy away from efforts and hard work.
(1893, “Kvali” magazine, N16)


Photo: Giorgi Leonidze State Museum of Georgian Literature