Georgia: Tiina Ilsen

We will only have a true democracy when we have achieved a balanced representation of women at all levels of decision making.

— Tiina Ilsen

Tiina Ilsen has worked with the gender unit of the Osce Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (Odihr) since September 1999, focusing on the promotion of women’s rights. She also created the Women’s NGOs Coalition in Georgia, an organization dedicated to promoting gender equality. She works on programs in legal literacy, vocational training, leadership development, and political participation. She has played a key role in shaping the Osce policy, philosophy, and program portfolio for women’s rights.

Tiina Ilsen has played a major role in analyzing the current situation of women in Georgia and has created the Women’s NGOs Coalition to unite all women’s non-governmental organizations in the country. The head of Odihr's gender unit (based in Warsaw), Tiina has worked tirelessly to empower women in Georgia’s new democracy. In June 2000, she initiated a meeting of the women heads of NGOs working on women’s issues. The meeting, entitled Women Leaders: Creating a Coalition of NGO Leaders in Georgia, was organized by Odihr expert trainers to develop awareness of gender issues, in addition to establishing a coalition and developing the skills to manage it effectively. Tiina was the driving force behind the creation of the coalition, established in response to the expressed desire of women leaders in Georgia to join together in their work to promote gender equality in civil society. Members completed additional training between 2000 and 2003 and established an action plan around six working groups to promote women in politics, education, health care, economics, conflict resolution and peace building, and the media. The launch of the coalition has enhanced women’s initiatives, promoted the idea of gender equality, and improved and unified the achievement of their goals. The organization provides women with a forum in which to tackle problems together, supporting one another as they work to achieve their goals. The coalition also has positioned women to take an active role in shaping society, particularly during the Rose Revolution in Georgia.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Osce) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (Odihr)