Georgia's Pioneering Women: The Trailblazers of Suffrage
By Chelti
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The history of women's suffrage is a testament to the tenacity and determination of women worldwide to secure their right to vote. In many parts of the world, women were denied this fundamental right for centuries, including in ancient civilizations like Greece and the Roman Republic. However, as the 19th century dawned, the struggle for women's suffrage gained momentum, sparking a global movement.

Georgia stands out as a pioneering example in the history of women's suffrage, as it was one of the first countries to grant women the right to vote. This momentous achievement took place on November 22, 1918, when the Georgian National Council, which was later referred to as the "Parliament" after October 8, 1918, passed the law known as the "Regulations on Elections to the Constituent Assembly." This piece of legislation was progressive in its content and political significance, setting a significant precedent.

The first chapter of the law declared that the Constituent Assembly would be composed of members elected by the general population, regardless of gender, through equal, direct, and secret ballots with proportional representation. This groundbreaking provision shattered the barriers that had confined women's voices to the sidelines of political discourse. Article 3 of the second chapter of the law extended voting rights to both male and female citizens of the republic who had reached the age of 20 on the day of the election.

Kristine Sharashidze

In the Constituent Assembly Elections, five remarkable women emerged as trailblazers by securing their seats, defying the global norms of their time. One of these pioneering women was Kristine Sharashidze, who was elected as a member of the presidium, serving as Secretary of the Assembly. This was a remarkable accomplishment considering that in many other countries, women were still fighting for their right to vote.

The following year, in 1919, the Constituent Assembly of the Legislative Body of the Democratic Republic of Georgia boasted the inclusion of five women among its 130 deputies. These women were true pioneers, champions of equality, and harbingers of change. Let's take a closer look at one of these outstanding women:

Minadora Orjonikidze

Minadora Orjonikidze-Toroshelidze

Minadora Orjonikidze-Toroshelidze made significant contributions to Georgia's journey towards independence and women's suffrage. In 1918, she played an instrumental role in assisting the National Council of Georgia in adopting the Act of Independence, which led to the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Georgia following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Ms. Orjonikidze-Toroshelidze was not just a witness to history; she was one of its signatories.

In 1919, Minadora Orjonikidze-Toroshelidze's commitment to her nation and the cause of women's suffrage continued to shine. She was elected as a member of the Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Georgia and was appointed to the Labour and Public Health Commission, further contributing to the development of her nation.

However, the path to progress was not without its challenges. In February 1921, the Soviet Russian army launched an attack on Georgia, leading to a turbulent period in the nation's history. During this time, Ms. Orjonikidze-Toroshelidze worked tirelessly for the Georgian Red Cross, providing aid to those in need.

As Georgia became part of the Soviet Union, Minadora Orjonikidze-Toroshelidze did not waver in her commitment to her beliefs. She joined the anti-Soviet movement and, following an uprising in Georgia, was exiled to Moscow, unable to return to Tbilisi until 1950. Her resilience and unwavering dedication to the cause of democracy and women's rights left an indelible mark on Georgia's history.

Minadora Orjonikidze-Toroshelidze passed away in 1967, but her legacy lives on as a testament to the power of women's voices in shaping a nation's destiny. She, along with her fellow suffragists, changed the course of history, breaking down barriers and paving the way for generations of women to come.

Georgia's pioneering women parliamentarians of the early 20th century played a crucial role in the nation's struggle for independence and women's suffrage, leaving a legacy that continues to inspire and empower women worldwide. Their stories serve as a reminder of the remarkable progress achieved when courageous women unite in the fight for equality and justice.


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Khikhvi Qvevri 2019


Khikhvi Qvevri 2019