Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Women Account for 58% of Unemployed Persons in Croatia

ZAGREB, March 6, 2019 - The most frequent obstacle on the labour market in Croatia concerns discrimination against women based on age and motherhood, women account for 58% of the unemployed persons, 62% of men are aware that their status at work is more privileged than that of women, while in terms of the pay gap, Croatia is above the EU average, it was said at a conference on gender equality at work in Zagreb on Wednesday.

"When we consider the overall situation in Croatia, we can say that we are better than the EU average with regard to the employment of women and the gender pay gap. The average gender pay gap in the EU is 16-17% while in Croatia it ranges between 8 and 10%," Labour and Pension System Minister Marko Pavić said at the conference, organised by IKEA and the European Parliament Office in Croatia.

The Labour and Pension System Ministry has 14 billion kuna at its disposal from the European Social Fund and the ministry's biggest project is a project for the employment of women.

So far, 6,000 women with an unfavourable labour market status have found employment as part of the ministry programme "Make a wish". Significant funds have also been invested in supporting a directive on work-life balance, said Pavić.

Swedish Ambassador Diana Helen Madunić said that the Swedish government, together with Swedish companies, had defined a policy of promoting sustainable business and gender equality which, among other things, also refers to a gender balance on management boards and a balanced parental leave for women and men.

We believe that sustainability and gender equality are key to business success. Women account for 50% of the world's population and we have to involve them and use their resources and abilities to create successful business for the future, said Madunić.

Croatian Gender Equality Ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić said the majority of complaints her office received referred to gender discrimination and that more than two in three women who approached the office complained about gender discrimination.

"The obstacles they report primarily concern the labour market, 45-60% of the complaints refer to that. The most frequent obstacle women encounter on the labour market is discrimination based on age and motherhood," Ljubičić said.

More news on the status of women in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Ombudswoman Demands Removal of Sexist Posters from Trams

ZAGREB, January 5, 2019 - Gender equality ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić on Friday recommended withdrawing controversial education posters against alcohol consumption from trams in Zagreb over their sexist messages that degrade women, such as a warning that women under the influence of alcohol are more likely to engage in sexual intercourse with unknown men without precautions.

The messages on the posters suggest that in men alcohol affects only their bodily functions, while in women it affects their behaviour making them promiscuous, undignified and irrational and making them lose any criteria as to who they have sex with, Ljubičić said after receiving many complaints from members of the public and media.

"Such a sex-based portrayal of women is offensive and degrading and not in keeping with the principles of equality of women and men or with national and international documents that define sexism and sexual stereotypes as one of the serious obstacles to achieving full gender equality," she said.

The ombudswoman recalled that in its Recommendation 1555 of 2002, entitled "The image of women in the media", the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly called on its member states, including Croatia, to condemn sexism in the same way as racism.

The first section of the poster, which refers to men, claims that alcohol has a bad influence on sex life and reproduction of men and reduces their sexual desire, sexual power and erection. That, they say, results in a lack of confidence.

This is followed by a second section, rather absurd, warning that drunk women like to engage in sex with random people. The poster says, "With women, alcohol leads to irresponsible sexual intercourses with unknown persons, menstrual cycle disorders and pregnancy. Through the placenta, alcohol also enters the blood of a child which can cause physical disabilities and mental retardation, the so-called fetal alcohol syndrome. "

According to info on the poster itself, it was created together by the Zagreb City Office for Health and the Centre for Education, Counselling and Personal Development CEDAR. The centre explained that the poster is part of the public drive “Healthy Choice”, which is complementary to the preventive project “Healthy!” which they have been implementing together with secondary schools since 2012. The campaign is aimed at preventing high school students from experimenting with alcohol.

Centre president Ksenija Rissi said that high school students made the posters and that they "wanted to send a message to their peers about potential direct and indirect harmful effects of drinking alcohol.”

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

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Croatian MEP Appointed Rapporteur on Women's Rights in Western Balkans

ZAGREB, November 24, 2018 - Croatian member of the European Parliament and member of its Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), Biljana Borzan, has been appointed rapporteur on women rights in Western Balkans, Borzan's office said in a press release on Saturday.

According to the statement, Borzan has for years called for an official position for the region and has finalised a draft resolution on that matter. "This year the EP has responded to my request and it has been put into procedure," she said.

In her resolution, Borzan refers to the poor situation of women on the labour market. Even though women who during their studies are more successful than their male colleagues, they are in a much poorer position on the labour market, they suffer abuse and most often take over caring for children and elderly family members, she said.

"Unfortunately, violence is a burning problem in the region. There aren't enough safe houses. We have unqualified staff to deal with the victims, a slow judiciary and what is worst, examples of unreported cases of violence," she underscored.

Negotiations will commence next week and a vote on the resolution should occur at a European Parliament session in February 2019.

In March this year, Borzan was presented with the MEP Award or EU Oscar for 2017 in the category of women's rights and gender equality.

For more on women rights in Croatia, click here.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Violence against Women Due to Patriarchal Society

ZAGREB, November 23, 2018 - One of the reasons why violence against women is so widespread in Croatia and the whole world are patriarchal social relations, so it is necessary to work on gender equality to reduce the violence, it was said on Friday at a presentation of publications on procedures in sexual violence cases and the elimination of discrimination against women.

The presentation was held on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, observed on November 25. "Domestic and sexual violence against women is so widespread... that it's a global problem. All international organisations are trying to find a solution to prevent it, but that's very slow," said Helena Štimac Radin, head of the government's Gender Equality Office.

A 2014 European Union study showed that one in three women had experienced physical or sexual violence after the age of 15, she said, adding that one of the reasons was "that men and women are not equal."

She said the protocol on procedures in cases of sexual violence, which is aligned with the Istanbul Convention and which the government adopted in July, precisely defined the obligations of the ministries of the interior, justice, health and education as well as prosecutors' offices.

Maja Mamula of the Women's Room NGO said sexual violence was one of the gravest, yet least reported crimes which had devastating consequences on victims, their families and society.

She said statistics showed that one in five women would be a victim of rape or attempted rape during her life. A Women's Room survey from 2005 showed that 17% of women were such victims and that 95% did not report it.

"Those who decide to report violence will experience additional trauma. They will be interviewed many times, they will often be interviewed inadequately, proceedings will be long and they will get insufficient psychological help and support," said Mamula.

For more on the position of women in the Croatian society, click here.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Croatia Falls Short as EU Demands More Women in Management Positions

The EU wants to see around 40 percent of women making up positions on company management and supervisory boards by the year 2020, and Croatia falls short. According to various results, gender-balanced business has increased revenues and directly affects GDP growth, and unemployment level is also reduced in general.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of November, 2018, if women are successful, their countries are also successful - this was the conclusion of the conference on rights and business: The Positive Effects of Adopting a New European Regulatory That Strengthens Business and Women. The conference brought together women in managerial positions and was focused mainly on the overall importance of improving gender balance in managerial positions, how to properly lobby for this directive in state bodies and in private sectors, and the practice of good gender politics and examples of good practice throughout the territory of the EU.

Back in 2015, lawyer Tarja Krehić, along with fifty colleagues, founded the Croatian Association of Women in the Legal Profession, of which Krehić is president. She explained in detail the goals and the legal aspects of improving gender equality in management boards, backed by the statistics of the Republic of Croatia.

What motivated you to found the Croatian women's association in the legal profession? What does that deal with?

Law associations exist in the United States, in all European Union countries, they also act as umbrella organisations which bring together lawyers, and they observe women's empowerment trends and regulations. Since I graduated in law in the United States, I got acquainted with women's associations in the legal professions and realised how important it is for women, for business, and for justice.

In Zagreb, I gathered together colleagues, prominent judges, attorneys, and lawyers in economics. We founded the association and today we've gathered together more than 400 lawyers from all sorts of legal branches, from judges and state attorneys, to corporate lawyers and lawyers in economy. We're working on some interesting projects, and we'll begin with an academy that will be attended by students of the Faculty of Law, in order to improve their knowledge, and also for the profession to get what it needs from young lawyers.

I believe that the quality of knowledge at law faculties and at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb could be better. Practitioners who don't understand the practice and these new trends are on their way out. We're also organising a professional lecture where we bring experts and lawyers who talk more in detail about all the problems of the system with which society is not very well informed.

We deal with the legal profession, in a quality, professional, modern way, and not the conservative and traditional way in which it's being perceiving today. We also open up issues related to the EU and the effects of adopting the European regulation which empowers women in business and law.

What about the statistics on the representation of women in managerial positions in Croatia?

There's a so-called ''glass ceiling'' in the whole society and so to some extent in the legal profession. When we focus on the legal profession, more than 70 percent of lawyers are female and in the judiciary, yet we've never had a female president of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, and we've never had a female state attorney.

The Faculty of Law in Zagreb has existed for more than 240 years, and we've only had two female deans. Obviously, the status of women in our profession, as well as in general business, could be improved. There are many women in business and law who want to get into leadership positions and be leaders, but have a problem with that due to fear and a lack of ambition.

Given the rather defeating results, how do we improve the status of women in business, and thus stimulate the economy, too?

At the EU level, it was determined that women are highly qualified and skilled but not sufficiently utilised in their own professions. To improve the economy and to deal with international trends on a global level, society as a whole needs to be engaged. Having a large group of highly skilled personnel that is not adequately used presents with a problem that needs to be solved.

It places this issue as the number one issue and deals with the implementation of the [EU] directive for laying down a fixed female quota for the management boards of companies, which has already been implemented by a large number of European Union countries.

There's a law in Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Austria which states that the management boards of the largest companies listed on the stock exchange must have 30-40 percent women working in them, and if they don't, then they don't even have an adequately functioning company. There is another set of EU countries that don't use a quota regulation but use self-regulating measures.

Their goal is the same, and that is to have 30 or 40 percent of women on supervisory boards and within company management, not by statutory obligation, but by self-regulating measures, meaning that the business has sat down at the table and said we obviously have unbalanced management functions in terms of gender. We'll impose those rules on ourselves. For example, the United Kingdom managed to reach up to 27 to 28 percent of women in the supervisory boards of some of the largest companies in ten years by using self-regulatory measures, and they started out with just ten percent.

What should we be focusing on, and what is the level of importance of this directive, and ultimately, what are the benefits for the country?

We need to work, act, and introduce concrete measures, which unfortunately doesn't work in our country, neither by passing laws nor by self-regulatory measures. The statistics don't support us. In Croatia, 21-22 percent of women work in administrations, 19 percent work on the supervisory boards of stock exchange companies, and Europe have said that by 2020, we must have between 30 and 40 percent women in such positions.

So, we don't stand well at all and the problem is that nobody is actually dealing with this issue. We don't advocate the application of any of these methods, but we're insisting on the fact that it's necessary to act on them. It's up to the state, state bodies and the profession to decide upon the direction by which this imbalance should be resolved.

The gender-balanced business management structure has increased revenues and directly influences GDP growth, it reduces unemployment of women and unemployment in general, it improves natality and addresses pension issues as women contribute to the pension system.

Through projects like the debate on the directive, we're doing only good for our society, the EU recognises that and we want to put Croatia on the map of those countries which are dealing with the gender-balanced business issue. We want to live in a country that is advanced financially, economically, socially, and in every other aspect, and through expert engagement on these topics, we'll manage to arrive to this.

Although Croatia falls short in this respect at the moment, the situation appears likely to improve, likely at a far slower pace than most would want. Want to keep up with more information like this? Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.


Click here for the original article/interview by Lucija Spiljak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Men in Croatia Earning Much More Than Women

ZAGREB, November 6, 2018 – Men in Croatia annually earned as much as 11,500 kuna more on average than women in 2015, which is almost one and a half average Croatian gross monthly wage more, gender equality ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić said in Zagreb on Tuesday while presenting the European project "Equal Rights - Equal Pay - Equal Pensions", which aims to achieve gender equality and prevent poverty in Croatia.

The average monthly gross wage in Croatia in 2015 was about 7,500 kuna (1,000 euro) for women and 8,400 kuna (1,130 euro) for men, which means that the average monthly wage for women was 88.7 percent of that for men, the ombudsman said.

She warned that the gender pay gap leads to a pension gap, as a result of which women face social exclusion, poverty and economic dependence on the husband or partner after leaving the labour market.

The project "Equal Rights - Equal Pay - Equal Pensions" aims to ensure standards and measures that will raise awareness of this problem with a view to reducing the risk of poverty for women.

The 470,000 euro project was launched on October 1 and will last until the end of September 2020. It is the fourth European project to be implemented by the gender equality ombudsman in the last five years through which a total of 2 million euro has been absorbed.

As part of the project, an in-depth study of the situation will be carried out at national level, educational programmes will be designed, workshops will be held in four cities and a national legislative framework for equal pay and pensions is expected to be drawn up. The target groups of the project include executive and legislative authorities, public- and private-sector companies, trade unions, and secondary school students.

For more on the position of women in Croatia, click here.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Transgender People Have a Right to Be Issued New Diplomas

The Education Ministry has issued an instruction that people who change their gender have a right to receive certificates and diplomas with the new name.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Women's Network Demands Implementation of Istanbul Convention

ZAGREB, May 23, 2018 - Members of the Women's Network of Croatia held a protest outside the government offices on Wednesday, demanding speedy and efficient implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, and warning that since its ratification by the parliament three women have been killed.

Friday, 4 May 2018

“30% Club” to Promote Role of Women in Business

ZAGREB, May 4, 2018 - The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) and the Canadian Embassy on Thursday launched an initiative to set up the globally recognised "30% Club" in Croatia in a bid to encourage greater representation of women on the management and supervisory boards of companies.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Women Disadvantaged in Labour Market

ZAGREB, April 25, 2018 - The status of women on the labour market continues to be poorer than the status of men, they encounter problems with their employers when it comes to maternity, they are exposed to sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions, and there is a lack of measures to ensure work-life balance, it was said at a round table discussion on gender equality on the labour market, organised on Wednesday by the Parliament's Gender Equality Committee.

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