Georgia's conservative Olympic outfit scorned by women's rights activists
By Umberto Bacchi
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women's rights activists in Georgia have urged the country's Olympic Committee to pick a more liberal design for its female athletes, criticizing the official outfits for next month's opening ceremony at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games as archaic.
Inspired by the national costume, the outfit has been a major talking point in the former Soviet republic over the past few days, with many taking to social media to complain it projected the wrong image of the nation abroad.
"It's very archaic and conservative," said Baia Pataraia from the Georgian Women Movement. "This is not how we perceive our society to be".
The uniform, made of an ankle-length gown and a dark red jacket with long sleeves and a high-necked top was unveiled last week ahead of the Olympic team's departure for Brazil.
"The Olympic uniforms depict a stereotypical approach towards women," Nana Pantsulaia, executive director of Women's Fund in Georgia, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
An online petition asking for it to be swapped for an outfit "suitable for a modern state" was launched shortly afterwards and has since attracted more than 7,000 signatures.
Some critics argued the dress was ill-suited to the festive spirit of the Games and Rio's hot weather.
"To the next Olympics, perhaps, we will go dressed directly as monks," quipped Facebook user David Paichadze. Continued...