Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Milanović Visits Technical Museum Exhibition About Women

ZAGREB, 8 March 2022 - On the occasion of International Women's Day, Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday visited the exhibition titled "Women and Technology – Exhibition of Gender Inclusive Themes", staged in Zagreb's Nikola Tesla Technical Museum.

The exhibition was opened on 13 November 2021 and will run through 15 March.

It is dedicated to the promotion of women who contributed to the development of science and technology.

"The exhibition made use of permanent exhibits from the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum and includes women that are not necessarily scientists, but professionally carried out work that is typically associated with men. Furthermore, the purpose is not to single out the contributions of individual female scientists and inventors, but to strive to give a broader perspective," according to a press release issued on the website of the Office of the Croatian President.

The exhibition presents information and the destiny of prominent women "who broke down socially imposed barriers and made a name for themselves in male stereotype occupations, and the anonymous women to whom science is indebted."

The exhibition shows that in the late 19th century and 20th century there was a total of 5,280 women employed in Croatia, with almost 2,000 being maids and 1,500 in trades and industry.

Between the two world wars, women accounted for 20% of those employed in industry. In textile industry, every second worker was woman, and most of those female workers were without any qualifications or with semi-qualifications and from rural areas.

In the 1970s they accounted for more than 30% employees in industry while the process of de-industrialisation in the 1990s first affected industries that employed women.

The idea of equal pay appeared in the mid-19th century, however, the pay gap still exists in corporations.

President Milanović noticed that similar pay gaps exist in the public sector too.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Women MPs Call For Continuing Fight Against Pay Gap, Protecting Victims Of Violence

ZAGREB, 8 March 2022 - A group of female MPs from different parties warned on Tuesday, on International Women's Day, about the unequal and unfair status of women in the Croatian society, and called for continuing to fight against the pay gap between women and men and securing protection for victims of domestic violence.

Offering her best wishes to women on their day, Sandra Benčić of the Green-Left Bloc said they wanted to raise key legislative issues such as those related to women and their right to a home, unfair and unequal ownership of resources, the issue of women workers and the right to the dignity of work and fair pay.

Benčić said they wanted to express support for women refugees, notably those from Ukraine, as well as all women exposed to war, violence and exile.

State should secure cheap housing for women victims of violence

Benčić said they wanted the state and local authorities to secure access to cheap public housing for women victims of violence so they could deal with the issue of the right to a home.

She wondered how it was possible that perpetrators of domestic violence did not have to leave their households while women and children had to move to shelters, and why the state had not secured minimum protection for women and children from the perpetrator invading their home after he serves two or three days in prison, which, she said, is the usual punishment.

"We think this should be regulated differently by law, in cases in violence the right to a home cannot and must not be treated as less important than the right of ownership. In this country absolutely nothing has been done for 30 years to enable women to acquire ownership of real estate the same way as men, notably in rural areas where very often they end up in the street and homeless," said Benčić.

Anka Mrak Taritaš of GLAS said that around 22 million women affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine were in a life threatening situation or were travelling with their children to other countries.

Basic conditions for life, work of Ukrainian women

Mrak Taritaš said that those women should be provided with at least minimum conditions for life and work.

Katarina Peović of the Workers' Front said that International Women's Day commemorated the struggle of working women in Chicago for greater voting rights as well as labour rights.

"It is a day when we speak of the need for a higher pay for women, safer working conditions and a better life. That has been recognised by women's associations across Croatia and today they are organising a march under the slogan "March today, strike tomorrow" because they know that there can be no women's rights without equal material rights, wages and working conditions," she said.

If the new Labour Act, which the government has been working on for two years, is adopted, employers will be literally able to ask a worker to be available 24 hours a day, she said.

While the world is turning to initiatives for the right to disconnect during non-work hours, the new law aims to make working hours more flexible and introduces "unclear terminology" that will make it possible, through digital technology, to make a worker available 24 hours a day, she said.

Katica Glamuzina of the Social Democrats' parliamentary bench said that instead of making progress in more than 100 years of struggle for gender equality, one had to continue discussing the pay gap, the fight against gender-based violence, femicide, and ways to break the glass ceiling.

Without equality for women in society, a sustainable future for the entire world is out of reach, she stressed, noting that one should also talk about climate change as it affects women more because women make up the majority of the global population living in poverty and depending on natural resources that are also affected by climate change.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

HUP: Women Still Under Represented in Commerce

ZAGREB, 8 March 2022 - Despite greater employability and more women in leading positions they are still insufficiently represented in the economy, particularly at the highest levels which indicates that there are still significant legal, structural and cultural obstacles to their full equality, it was heard at a conference on Tuesday.

The conference  - An economy without prejudice strengthening the economy by empowering women - was organised on the occasion of International Women's Day by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) and International Network of Business Women.

The status of women in Croatian society hasn't changed drastically despite a lot of stakeholders being included in changing the mood and awareness, Milka Kosanović from HUP said. She said that women are still paid less than men, with women earning 84% to 87% of the pay of their male colleagues for the same job. Today 79% of girls enrol in higher education and 49% gain higher qualifications.

"When they start climbing up the career ladder, women are faced with something we know as the glass ceiling. They don't advance equally with men and certain positions are not accessible to them and they are paid 13% to 16% less for similar jobs," said Kosanović.

It is necessary to systematically work on changing the mindset of women too. Women need to be aware that they can do everything men can and society needs to live by the principles it advocates," she added.

Gordana Matković, the owner of the Educamix for the development of human potential and a member of the International Network of Business Women said that more than 100 years have passed since the start of the struggle for equal rights, however, even today we are talking about the inequality of women.

That is why in fact the network organised today's conference to motivate society to think about ways of improving the status of women.

Congratulating women on the occasion of International Women's Day HUP Director-General Damir Zorić said that things can always be better. He added that he was glad that women have recognised HUP as a possible platform where they can act and improve things.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

MP Calls For Better Status For Women on Labour Market, Prevention of Violence

ZAGREB, 8 March 2022 - On the occasion of International Women's Day on Tuesday, the chair of the Croatian Parliament's Gender Equality Committee, Marija Selak Raspudić (Bridge), announced a bill to improve the status of women on the labour market, while advocating prevention of domestic violence.

"We need to work on equality in state and public institutions and review the job classification system and pay grades in this sector," Selak Raspudić told a press conference, adding that a plan for the real sector could follow after that.

She warmed that women entrepreneurs are in a more difficult position than men on the labour market, particularly when it comes to balancing work and private life, and that statistics show that they are far less represented than men.

She believes the announced bill on contributions will be detrimental to entrepreneurs, particularly women, because it provides that company executives have to be employed full-time. She proposed that contributions be determined according to a company's income.

Selak Raspudić proposed flexible work conditions for women caring for their families, which should not lead to a cancellation of their work contracts. She also called for the right to disconnect, which means that after working hours are over an employee is no longer bound by their job duties.

That would ensure that women are not available to their employers round the clock, she said. She also proposed the principle of equal pay for work from home or remote work.

Domestic violence increased by 40% during pandemic 

Selak Raspudić presented some interim statistics from the Ministry of the Interior regarding violence against women, according to which the number of murders of women by close persons increased from six in 2020 to eight in 2021. The number of attempted murders rose from 18 in 2020 to 25 in 2021, while the number of cases of serious injury increased from 1,055 in 2020 to 1,142 in 2021.

"The negative trend of crimes committed by close persons has not been stopped but has in fact increased during the pandemic, by as much as 40%," she warned.

Selak Raspudić underscored the need for the prevention of domestic violence and stressed that violence in Croatia is committed by a deviant minority of 0.3% of the population. She said that she would fight to protect all victims of violence, stressing that the fight for gender equality is not a war of the sexes but the struggle against all anomalies that prevent the realisation of a fairer society overall.

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Zagreb One Billion Rising Event: Every 15 Minutes, a Woman Experiences Violence

ZAGREB, 13 Feb 2022 - Croatian women's organisations on Sunday joined for the tenth time the "One Billion Rising" global campaign to end rape and sexual violence against women, as part of which, during an event staged in downtown Zagreb, they said that in Croatia, every 15 minutes a woman experiences some form of violence.

"This year the campaign is dedicated to the fight against violence that destroys women, but also our planet", said the regional campaign coordinator, Zagreb City Assembly member Rada Borić, who pointed to the need to raise awareness of the widespread violence against women.

"One billion women worldwide are abused at this moment, and Croatia is unfortunately no exception, but one billion trees have been felled, rivers and forests have been devastated," she said.

She warned that every 15 minutes, a woman experiences violence in Croatia and that rulings in such cases are quite inappropriate which in a way, encourages the perpetrators.

Three women killed since start of year

"The message is that there is no excuse for violence - even if that someone is a good neighbour or jealous or defender or county head..." Borić said, noting that Croatia has more killed women per million inhabitants than France.

Gender Equality Ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić, too, pointed to the discouraging national statistics.

"In the first 40 days of this year, three women have been killed, three women have been held captive and there have been several cases of attempted murder and threats with weapons, which shows that 2022 will be marked by femicide," Ljubičić said.

"In 2021, 30 people were murdered - 16 men and 14 women. In 90% of the cases men were killed by other men, while the 14 women were killed by 11 men close to them", Ljubičić added.

Sentences for perpetrators too lenient 

Ljubičić also warned that sentences for perpetrators were too lenient, noting that of 1,200 verdicts, less than 10% envisage imprisonment for gender-based violence, while in most cases, the punishment is conditional or a fine.

The Zagreb event's organisers called for working together on the prevention of violence and on raising awareness of the problem through systematic education and institutional cooperation.

This month events dedicated to raising awareness of the problem of violence against women are held also in other Croatian cities, and they will also be held on International Women's Day, 8 March, and Earth Day, 22 April.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

EU: Council Agrees Position on Two Labour-Related Draft Laws

ZAGREB, 7 Dec, 2021 - The Council of the European Union on Monday agreed a common position on two draft laws - on pay transparency and on adequate minimum wages in the EU. 

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, which was attended by the Croatian Minister for Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Josip Aladrović, agreed the common position based on which member states will negotiate with the European Parliament the final texts of the two laws.

The proposal on pay transparency should help tackle the existing pay discrimination at work and close the gender pay gap. It aims to empower workers to enforce their right to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through a set of binding measures on pay transparency.

Member states agreed that employers have to make sure their employees have access to the  objective and gender-neutral criteria used to define their pay and career progression.

In accordance with national laws and practices, workers and their representatives have the right to request and receive information on their individual pay level and the average pay levels for workers doing the same work or work of equal value, broken down by sex. Employers also need to indicate the initial pay level or range to be paid to future workers – either in the job vacancy notice or prior to the conclusion of the employment contract. 

The gender pay gap in the EU stands at around 14%, which means that women earn on average 14% less than men per hour. There are a number of inequalities underlying this pay gap. Women are overrepresented in relatively low-paying sectors such as care and education, the so-called glass ceiling leads to their underrepresentation in top positions, and in some cases women earn less than men for doing equal work or work of equal value.

The Council also agreed on a proposal for a directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU.

The aim of the directive is not to harmonise the level of minimum wages within the EU or set a uniform European minimum threshold, because the Union does not have jurisdiction over such matters. The aim is to establish minimum conditions for setting adequate minimum wages based on clear and stable criteria which would be updated in a regular and timely manner, as well as to ensure the inclusion of social partners. In most EU member states minimum wages are not adequate.

All 27 member states have minimum wages. In 21 of them, including Croatia, they are regulated by law, while in six countries (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden) they are agreed through collective bargaining.

Countries with a high collective bargaining coverage tend to have a smaller share of low-wage workers and higher minimum wages than those with low collective bargaining coverage. That is why ministers agreed that countries should promote strengthening the capacity of social partners to engage in collective bargaining. If their collective bargaining coverage is below 70%, they should also establish an action plan to promote collective bargaining.

Croatia is far from 70%

Minister Aladrović said that Croatia is relatively far from the 70% threshold as its collective bargaining coverage is estimated at between 30% and 35%.

"Nevertheless, I am confident that we will attain this threshold of 70%. It is attainable, especially in the private sector. In Croatia, collective bargaining is mostly linked to the state and public sector and not the private sector, where at this point we have one expanded collective agreement," he said.

Aladrović said that Croatia would strengthen collective bargaining through the amended Labour Act, which is now under preparation.

"It includes a number of provisions aimed at strengthening collective bargaining, which is important to protect workers and make employment more certain. This is also important to employers so that they can make long-term plans," he said, adding that this would also have an indirect effect on increases in average and minimum wages.

"I am quite sure that we will attain the planned level of average and minimum wages before the time indicated in the government programme," Aladrović said.

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Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Average Age of Candidates in Local Elections 45 years

ZAGREB, 4 May, 2021 - There are nearly 39,000 candidates running in the local elections which Croatia will hold on 16 May, and their average age is 45, according to statistics released by the State Electoral Commission (DIP).

The two youngest candidates are a man and a woman, who both turned 18 on 29 March this year.

The youngest female candidate is on the slate of a four-party coalition led by the HSS Stjepan Radić party, and the youngest male candidate is on the slate of the HSP party.

The oldest female candidate, 91, is on the slate of the Zagorska Stranka za Zagreb party in the City of Zagreb.

The oldest male candidate, 92, is on the slate of a group of voters led by Dražen Vranić.

Many slates are gender-imbalanced

The DIP has given an instruction that the representation of any gender should not be below 40%. However, the instruction has not been followed in some cases and there are several slates consisting only of male candidates.

Such slates are valid, however, those who submit them can be fined up to 20,000 kuna.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman: "Women Account For 50% of Senior Officials in Croatian Foreign Ministry"

ZAGREB, 21 April, 2021 - Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Wednesday that women filled more than 50% of management positions in this Croatian ministry.

Addressing a video conference called "Women’s Contribution to Peace and Security: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead," the Croatian foreign minister, who was the host of this digital gathering, said his country appreciated the contribution made by women to the security and stability of the society.

Croatia is taking measures to boost the representation of women on the national political scene, the minister said.

The conference was organised by the Croatian foreign and defence ministries as part of Croatia's year-long presidency of the US-Adriatic Charter (A5).

Some of the participants in the event were former Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovć, and officials of the USA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Four Schools Combating Period Poverty in Croatia

April 9, 2021 - Following Scotland's policy and relevant scientific research on period poverty in Croatia, four schools in Croatia want to help female pupils in their struggles of womanhood.

10% of women in Croatia can't afford menstrual pads and tampons – showed the results of the first big research on period poverty in the country. Following these results, as Srednja.hr reports, Machinery and Traffic School Varaždin was the first to secure free menstrual products for pupils, and three schools in Istria are on the same path.

As confirmed to Istra.In, Vladimir Gortan High School in Buje already secured free menstrual products, Pula Gymnasium's execution is coming soon, and Buzet High School is trying to find a way to implement it.

„Graduation pupils from 4.B, class of Hotel-tourist technicians came to the idea to place a pads dispenser in the girl's bathroom so that girls can take pads when needed“, said psychologist Petra Bošnjak for Istra.In.

She added that the pupils originally thought to finance this change by themselves, but the school decided they can cover the expenses, while the pupil's duty is to follow the development and fill the dispenser with new pads when needed.

„Their notion was immediately accepted and put in place“, concluded Bošnjak.

While Pula Gymnasium still hasn't put the free menstrual products scheme in practice, they announced it to start this Monday, April 12th. 

„Looking at the Varaždin school, we talked with the pedagogy service in school and decided to secure free menstrual products ourselves. I think it's a good approach to be more open towards women and as a school to send a message that we want a clear approach to topics we don't speak loud enough about and to more frequently talk about topics like equality which today is very very important“, said principal of Pula Gymnasium, Filip Zoričić. 

The school will finance menstrual products and which will be available to the pupils in the psychology and pedagogy office. 

As already mentioned, Buzet High School wants to implement the same help to girl pupils too, but the project is in the early stages, and the school vows to do everything in its power to make it a reality. Last week, they sent an inquiry to a drug store asking to sponsor free menstrual products for the girls at Buzet High School, but the drug store so far didn't respond.

„We still didn't get an answer, but we only sent it last week. We certainly want to make this idea a reality, and we won't give up until we find a sponsor for this action“, said principal Margareta Gumilar persistently.

With different stages of success in ensuring free menstrual products for their pupils, these schools are positioning themselves as champions of positive change for gender equality. They are fighting to remove one financial struggle for the pupils that certainly gives uneven position. The prices of menstrual products in Croatia range from 10 to over 20 kunas. 

For more about made in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 22 March 2021

Parties Reminded to Ensure Balanced Gender Representation in Local Election

ZAGREB, 22 March, 2021 - The State Election Commission (DIP) on Monday reminded political parties and independent slates to respect the principle of gender equality and balanced representation of men and women on lists of candidates for members of representative bodies of municipalities, towns and counties in May's local elections.

In doing so, they must take care that the representation of one sex on a list is not below 40%, DIP said.

It recalled that respect for the principle of balanced representation of men and women on electoral slates did not affect the validity of those slates and that they would not be rejected if they failed to have a sufficient number of female or male candidates, but that their proposers would be fined.

Under the Gender Equality Act, fines range from HRK 40,000 for a political party or independent slate participating in elections for city councils and county assemblies to HRK 20,000 for elections for municipal councils.

Fewer councillors to be elected in May

The number of deputies in local councils and assemblies to be elected in the May 16 election depends on the number of those local government units' inhabitants and ranges from 7 for municipalities that have up to 1,000 residents, to 47, which is how many deputies will be elected to the Zagreb City Assembly and the assemblies of counties with more than 300,000 residents.

The number of local deputies to be elected in the May 16 election is smaller than four years ago.

In line with changes to the law on local elections, municipalities with up to 1,000 residents elect seven councillors, while under the old law seven councillors were elected by municipalities with up to 500 inhabitants and municipalities with up to 1,000 inhabitants elected nine deputies.

Counties with more than 300,000 residents and the City of Zagreb will each elect to their assemblies 47 councillors and previously they elected 51 deputies.

It is estimated that under the new rules, the number of members of local representative bodies will be around 10% smaller.

To read more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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