Which Cities in Croatia Are Run by Women?

By 11 March 2022
Women leaders of Supetar, Brač
Women leaders of Supetar, Brač gradonacelnik.hr

March 11th, 2022 - At present, 17 Croatian cities have women mayors, and the number of women in local government bodies has also significantly increased since 2021

Two years ago, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions conducted a study analysing the representation of women in 41 European countries and all levels of government, from local councils all the way up to the European Parliament, which showed that women only make up a third of political decision-makers.

Moreover, a measly 15 percent of major European cities have women mayors. Out of 41 European capitals, women only run eight. The Croatian average is slightly lower; out of 128 cities, women run 17 of them: Čakovec, Delnice, Ilok, Komiža, Korčula, Mali Lošinj, Ozalj, Pakrac, Pazin, Petrinja, Pleternica, Samobor, Sisak, Slunj, Supetar, Varaždinske Toplice and Zlatar.

However, in terms of women’s representation in local governments, we seem to be doing better than the EU average. This is reflected in the results of this year’s study on the representation of women in Croatian city administrations, conducted annually by gradonacelnik.hr.

This year’s results are especially interesting in the light of last year's local elections, which led to changes in the leadership and composition of administrative bodies in the vast majority of cities.

Instead of 13 women mayors, as there were in the last term of local government, women are in charge of 17 cities in Croatia this year, and the number of women in leading positions in city administrations and councils has also significantly increased.

The study looked at about 60 Croatian cities, and the results show that women make up at least half of administrative employees in 58 cities, in 23 of which women exceed 70 percent, and in three cities (Popovača, Ludbreg and Sveta Nedelja), women make up over 80 percent of employees in the city administration.

In the top 10 cities in this category are Trogir and Novska with 79 percent, Pag and Lepoglava with 78, Labin with 76 percent, Delnice with 75 percent, and Pazin, Duga Resa and Otok with 74 percent.

Perhaps a more relevant piece of data than the share of women in the overall number of employees is their representation in the leading positions in local government. Since last year, major progress has been made in Croatia in this regard.

Compared to 2021 when we had 16 cities in which all the administrative departments were run by women, this year we have twice as many: there are now 32 cities in Croatia where all administrative departments have women at the helm.

Last year, we had 47 cities where women run more than half of the administrative departments, this year there are 84. In 2021, there were 24 cities where women hold more than 75 percent of leading positions in city administrative departments, this year there are 46, and there are now 37 cities where women hold over 80 percent of leading positions in administrative departments compared to last year’s 19.

There’s less difference compared to last year when it comes to city companies and institutions. Last year, there were 42 Croatian cities in which women held at least 50 percent of leading positions in city institutions and companies, and this year there were 48. The number of cities in which all city institutions and companies are run by women remains the same - six.

Women are least represented in city councils, but this is exactly where greatest progress has been made since the last term. The survey conducted by gradonacelnik.hr in 2021 showed that only one city in Croatia had more than 50 percent of women on the city council (Ludbreg), and that in most cities women made up only a third or had an even lower share in the city council.

In 2022, after last year's local elections, there are 17 cities where women make up more than half of the members of city councils, and four cities where women have a share of over 60% of the city councils.

Finally, an aggregate index was calculated on the basis of all analysed indicators to figure out which cities in Croatia have the highest share of women in leading roles. These are: Sveti Ivan Zelina, Buzet, Popovača, Duga Resa, Labin, Belišće, Crikvenica, Buje, Varaždinske Toplice and Slavonski Brod.