Christine Maglakelidze, 23, Kutaisi

(A lawyer, who works with a team of scouts to promote micro and small enterprises as part of the state program Enterprise Georgia. Christine is a democracy and education activist).

„Discrimination based on gender has been so inherent to our everyday life that society seems to take inequality normally and find equality somehow strange at the same time. For example, take the bicycle repairman, who explained in detail how to adjust bike gears according to different types of roads when I started riding a bike. One day when I came to him to repair a wheel, he looked at the gear and told joyfully to his co-worker: “Look, she is a girl but has the ‘right’ gear”. Since that time whenever I come to him I tell him about distances I cover during my bike rides, I share my impressions about new bicycle tracks and new discoveries regarding riding the bike. I think that he will realize easily in this way that gender does not have to do anything with abilities.

In the elementary school, I had a class teacher who was passionate about math. She used to teach us math during all classes, including art, nature and PE classes. Given the frequency of math lessons, it was not difficult for me to resolve tough mathematical problems but every time I got the right answer, the teacher would praise me, give me a good mark and add as a bonus: ‘a good boy’. I remember I found that a bit strange then, but my family liked it very much whenever I told them about it, so I got used to that. Later, during my student years, when my friends and I shared our school experiences, I learnt that other girls also used to get the same comments at school. Now that I am thinking about actors contributing to forming stereotypes I think that everyone has a share of responsibility in that. It seems that joint efforts have resulted in the development of a patriarchal society, in which neither a woman, who is not considered serious because of her gender, and nor a man, who has so many responsibilities on his shoulders – can be happy. Now I am thinking about my class teacher, who loved math but could not understand simple arithmetic and comparisons. I mean that: if we say that 1=1 i.e. 1 woman and 1 man are equal, the more correct thesis would be 2>1 i.e. a woman and man can do things much better together than a single man or a single woman.“