Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Women Work One Month For Free, Says MEP Glavak

ZAGREB, 14 July, 2021 - Women work one month for free due to lower wages and their total income, and consequently their pension, is lower because they care for children and the elderly, Croatian MEP Sunčana Glavak (EPP) said on Wednesday.

She was speaking at an event at Plitvice Lakes which discussed how to strengthen the position of women in Croatia and Europe, held as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Glavak said a division into men's and women's departments was not felt in the EP because the persons there were competent, but added that a balance had not been achieved anywhere in Europe.

She called on citizens to engage in a debate on that and other European topics via the Commission's platform “”

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said four women ministers in Croatia's 18 government departments was not enough, but added that they "run important departments and make a big contribution to this government."

He boasted that Croatian women hold high positions in European institutions - Dubravka Šuica is a Commission vice president, Marija Pejčinović Burić the Council of Europe secretary-general, Ivana Maletić a judge at the European Court of Auditors, and Maja Markovčić Kostelac the head of the European Maritime Safety Agency.

"As a government, we will continue to make an effort towards empowering and protecting women, towards equality and women's participation at a higher level and a high representation percentage," he said.

Present at the Plitvice conference were Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac, Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak and Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković, while Šuica and EPP Women President Doris Pack participated virtually.

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 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.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Are Women Safe In Croatia?

August 1, 2020 - The Twitter campaign #zeneujavnomprostoru (women in the public space) has exploded over the last two weeks, detailing stories of sexual harassment and leading many ask, are women safe in Croatia?

Croatia is recognised as one of the safest countries in Europe. And rightly so. People leave their houses and their cars unlocked all the time. It’s an abnormality that there should be a murder or a rape here.

Speak to any female who moved here from another country and they can’t believe the difference; all speak of their initial surprise and, ultimately, their confidence in being able to walk unchaperoned around any Croatian village, town or city. Croatia is incomparably safe, particularly when judged against somewhere like the UK, where you’re lucky to get through a weekend without hearing reports of one or multiple rapes.

But, just because ex-pats feel liberated in their new lives here and you almost never hear of rape, that doesn’t tell the whole story. By and large, though women are free from physical attack and brutal rape by a stranger here in Croatia, that certainly doesn’t mean we can't ask are women safe in Croatia from sexual harassment.

2019’s annual report by the Ombudsperson for Gender Equality in Croatia stated that, in the last few years, the number of complaints they received about sexual harassment “mainly in the area of labour and employment” had risen considerably.

And, in the past two weeks, Twitter has exploded in response to a campaign started by a women’s rights activist in Rijeka, Marinella Matejčić, who created the hashtag #zeneujavnomprostoru (women in the public space). So far, the campaign has received 4865 responses – retweets, people using the hashtag or women from Croatia (and some from Bosnia and Serbia) submitting stories. Matejčić has been interviewed by all of the leading Croatian portals, Balkan Insight and even the BBC about the unexpected size to which the campaign has grown.

“We already knew that harassment was widespread in public places, the workplace and so on,” says Matejčić, who attributes much of the widespread problem to Croatia still being a patriarchal society. “But, we didn’t expect we’d be able to encourage so many women to share their stories with us. I’m so grateful to those that did.”

Are women safe in Croatia? Marinella Matejčić, the women's rights campaigner from Rijeka who created the #zeneujavnomprostoru (women in the public space) hashtag © Martina Šalov

“Most of the stories are about harassment,” she told TCN, although she also detailed some stories recounted about sexual behaviour towards minors. “That was the goal; to highlight that there is sexism and harassment happening all around us. We tolerate it because it’s part of the culture from where we came.”

It’s difficult to believe this horrible phenomenon exists when you’re a foreigner who feels so safe in Croatia. And when you’re a man. But, in preparation for writing these words, I asked every woman sat at my table. Each had at least one or several stories to tell, of being shouted at in the street, inappropriately touched. Two women from Zagreb both said that aroused men had pressed up against them on a packed tram. While they were on their way home from school!

“That’s normal here”, said one.

"So, if it’s normal here, does that mean you’re ok with it?”

“Certainly not!”

“It’s not so easy to get everyone to listen when you complain about women having nasty things said or done to them in the street or at work,” says Matejčić. “Some people just don’t see it as harassment. We’ve had quite the backlash. Some people say that women are just being hysterical about this, that they just can’t take a compliment. But, there’s a difference in being offered a compliment and the unwelcome harassment women receive in the street, on public transportation, or in the workplace.”

The dismissive opinions Matejčić details stem from a place of supreme arrogance and misunderstanding. If you want to know about racism, listen to the stories of a Romani family or a black man. If you want to understand homophobia, listen to a gay man or a lesbian. If you want to assess the genuine level of sexual harassment that exists, it is women whose stories need to be heard. Ignorant men have absolutely no place in this discussion other than to respectfully listen.

These problems certainly do not exist only in Croatia. Women are treated as second class citizens in many countries around the world, in many places the level of harassment is much worse. It is perhaps no bad thing that reports of sexual harassment have sharply risen here. Croatia is changing. And for the better. But there’s still some way to go before the catcalls, comments and inappropriate physical behaviour is as reviled as it deserves to be.

“I don’t think that it’s happening more,” says Matejčić, when asked to comment on the Croatian ombudsperson’s report. “I just think more women are finally coming forward to report it.”

Friday, 13 April 2018

One Voice Festival to be Held in Zagreb

On April 21st, 2018, a festival of activist choirs called "One Voice Festival" will take place at &TD Theater in the Student Center in Zagreb.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

“Catholic Church Will Not Write New Abortion Law”

Shortly after creating a storm by saying that the Church will have representatives in a working group for drafting the new abortion law, the health minister apparently changes his mind.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Condoms Fill the Sky to Mark Month of Activist-Artist Interventions in Split

Yesterday at noon, a handful of inflated condoms sailed the skies above Split, marking the opening of the event ‘Period - 28 Days of Activist-Artist Interventions in Public Spaces’, which was held at Trg Gaje Bulata in front of HNK.