No Significant Progress in Gender Equality in Croatia

By 23 March 2019

ZAGREB, March 23, 2019 - Some of the gender equality indicators in Croatia, such as the number of boys and girls enrolled in primary and secondary schools, continue to be good, however, there has been no significant progress on other indicators such as labour market equality, female entrepreneurship, the role of women in politics and business, the status of Roma women, inequalities between rural and urban areas and the inclusion of the LGBT community, shows a gender equality analysis of the World Bank.

The analysis has detected the biggest gap in the possibility to make economic earnings considering the fact that a large number of women, youth, pensioners and members of minority groups do not have access to the labour market.

The unemployment rate among women is 19% higher than unemployment among men, and women account for 57.4% of groups that lack access to the labour market, it was said at a presentation of the World Bank analysis in Zagreb.

Women in Croatia are educated successfully at all levels, including institutions of higher education, but that does not automatically mean a higher rate of their participation in the labour market.

There is a huge gender gap among workers in Croatia, shows the report, presented by a World Bank senior expert on social development, Tara Sharafudeen, and World Bank data processing expert Paul Andres Corral Rodas.

Compared to 71% of employed active men, only 61% of active women have a paying job. For women the situation changes in the course of life - initially the level of their employment is similar to men's but in time their participation in the labour market declines.

Men in Croatia earn much more than women. The average monthly pay for women accounts for around 88% of the average pay for men, and women who work earn less than men throughout their life.

The pay gap leads to a gap in pensions, which is why after leaving the labour market women face social exclusion, poverty and financial dependence on their spouse or partner.

As many as 32% of women in Croatia aged 25-64 have been inactive due to obligations related to care while only 12% of men do household chores.

Poverty among elderly women is 35% higher than poverty among elderly men, which is especially worrying considering estimates that elderly women will be making up 15% of Croatia's population by 2035.

The Roma minority is the most socially excluded minority group, and inequality starts early for Roma girls and grows stronger in time. As many as 78% of Roma girls leave school early compared to 60% of Roma boys. Only 6% of Roma girls complete secondary or a higher level of education as against 24% of Roma males. With an 82% rate for women and a 72% rate for men Croatia has Europe's second highest rate, after Spain, of Roma who are not included in the education system, labour market or some type of training. Roma women in Croatia do the least paying jobs in the entire Southeast Europe.

LGBT persons in Croatia face a high level of discrimination, violence and harassment which significantly exceeds the EU average. According to the World Bank report, in 2012, 60% of LGBT respondents said they had been victims of violence and harassment, often in public places, and more than a half said they avoid public places as they do not feel safe there. One in four respondents who had a job in the period of 12 months before the survey felt discriminated against at work in the previous year for stating their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Croatia has one of the lowest employment rates in the EU and women are much less likely to become entrepreneurs than men. Only three percent of women aged 25-29 are entrepreneurs. Older women are more inclined to start their own business and the rate is slightly higher (8.5%) in the 60-64 age group. At the same time, only 12% of households have women in the highest positions.

Gender Equality Ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić said that society has the duty to provide equal opportunities of success to men and women because the entire society benefits from that.

More news about gender equality in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.