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This figure pales compared to rates in the United States or the United Kingdom, but the curve is sloping upward.In Western societies, Javakhishvili noted, people tend to go through several relationships before they settle down.In the past two years, the median age for first marriages has grown older in Georgia -- 26.8 years old for men and 25.1 years old for women, according to the Georgian National Statistics Service.Just a few years ago, the figure for women was 23 years old.As a result, baby-faced married couples are often found walking around holding babies of their own, commented Tamar Sabedashvili, United Nations Development Fund for Women Gender Advisor in Georgia.
Marriage is widely seen as the sine qua non of Georgian life – a condition that establishes a person’s status as a full-fledged member of society.
Supporters cite the need to uphold Georgian traditions.
Critics -- who often resort to social networking or dating websites to try to hook up with “Natashas” from the North --reject the “institute” as a legacy of a pre-modern mindset.
As Georgia rushes to embrace Western ways, a cultural taboo on sex before marriage for women is one tradition that is still holding strong.
And even while acknowledging the macho tenets that shape it, the taboo is one tradition that many Georgian women from all walks of life say they do not want to buck.