A breadwinner or a housewife?

Agency in the everyday image of the Georgian woman

  • Natallia Paulovich


For a long time, women in Georgia were involved in bringing up children and caring for families, while men were the main breadwinners and
performed only a supportive role in bringing up children and managing the domestic economy. Now many women are actually breadwinners
in all the meanings of this term. Such positions for contemporary Georgian women are largely due to the current socio-economic situation
in the country, caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the civil war during this period. It was
women who began to earn money for their families, while many men were unable to deal with the ‘post-war syndrome’ and lost their jobs. The
problems from the early 1990s combined with high unemployment levels in the country again mainly affected men. Given these circumstances,
women work hard outside the home to support their families, but also put a lot of energy in caring for the members of the family at home. They
thus place their career and taking care of other members of their family at the centre of their identity, claiming that these two spheres allow them
to express themselves. This allows me to state that these women possess agency. Activities of women (at home and outside) are becoming a key
point of cultural production and social reproduction that allow these women to move between the household and the public sphere.