Project Activities

Women on the lists, women’s demands in the programs!

In Zagreb, on September 27, 2011, campaigns were held for the promotion of women’s participation in the elections, organized by the Center for Women’s Studies and CESI – Center for Education, Counseling and Research together with partner organizations B.a.B.e., Domine, Delfin and CGI. “Although these are two campaigns – one that promotes a higher representation of women on electoral lists, and the other that deals with the gender policy issues represented by political parties, both have the same goal – to increase the participation of women in decision-making,” said Jasminka Pešut from the Center for Women’s Studies at the beginning of the press conference.

Creating a public space for the expression of women’s needs and interests, and all with the aim of including a gender perspective and the real needs of women into party pre-election programs and public policies, is the primary goal of the project What do women want? Women’s voices in the parliamentary elections in 2011. Therefore CESI and its partner organizations together formed Women’s Platform 2011. “Women’s Platform 2011 was created as a result of conversations with women all over Croatia, in 10 counties and 10 cities, and we also highly valued women belonging to minority groups – such as national minority members and women with disabilities, whose position in society is especially difficult,” said Mirjana Kučer from Domine. Even though many of the demands outlined in the Platform are already stated in various other strategies and acts, women in Croatia are warning that these strategies are not being implemented or that they cannot exercise their rights. “We ask that women’s rights be more than a dead letter on a piece of paper and that the future Parliament and Government actually realize what they vote on,” stressed Tatjana Broz from CESI and stated that meetings have been requested with heads of all parties represented in Parliament in order to present them with women’s demands in their entirety.

The proportion of women in parliament has stagnated at 20% in the last 10 years, while at the same time research shows that both men and women think there ought to be more women in politics so as to improve its quality. “Guided by the results of our research, we have concluded that the problem does not lie in the citizens, but elsewhere. To be precise, in the political party heads who create electoral lists,” stated Zorica Siročić from the Center for Women’s Studies while presenting the Center’s campaign which is being carried out in the framework of the project Ad Acte – Stop Gender Discrimination on Electoral Lists. Thus the Center for Women’s Studies decided to make posters and place them in the vicinity of political parties’ headquarters, and to repeatedly send them memos to remind them about their legal, but also democratic, obligation to nominate 40% of women. Although sanctions for disregarding quotas will not yet be applied in these elections, all participants agreed that it’s “sad that we need penalties to force parties to fulfill the quota of 40% of women on electoral lists.”

Discussion of the proposed National Policy for the Promotion of Gender Equality 2011-2015

A public discussion about the proposed National Policy for the Promotion of Gender Equality was held on May 4, 2011, at the Center for Human Rights. The discussion was attended by the representatives of government departments, local committees for gender equality and civil society organizations. The Center for Women’s Studies’ representatives were Rada Borić, Zorica Siročić and Leda Sutlović.

The National Policy Draft was presented by the head of the Office for Gender Equality of the Republic of Croatia Helena Štimac Radin, who specified the reduction in the number of measures from 144 to 91 as the principal feature of the new national policy as opposed to the previous one, which is an opportunity for a more concrete measure implementation. The novelty in relation to the old National Policy is the introduction of the chapter called the Promotion of International Cooperation, which was introduced due to the fulfillment of obligations towards the EU, but also due to establishing cooperation with international institutions and organizations.

The National Policy for the Promotion of Gender Equality for the period 2011 – 2015 consists of seven fields of action which are required to include a gender perspective in their programs.

The main objections to the Proposal are related to the short deadline for the public discussion, to not defining the indicators by which the (in)efficiency of the previously proposed measures could be determined, not publishing the Report on the effect of the previous National Policy based on which more effective measures could be adopted, and the non-existence of a systematic funding plan for the proposed measures.

For example, Rada Borić pointed out a number of shortcomings of the Proposal, including the ambiguous language in which it is written and which points to the absence of political will for implementing the proposed measures, an inflation of measures related to statistical monitoring, the excessive deadline for the implementation of the proposed measures, the non-existence of a significant number of measures for monitoring (or indicators). As a suggestion for the National Policy supplement on a general level she stated the necessity for more specific measures, for example, the introduction of pensions for rural women or scholarships for traditionally male occupations. She also expressed dissatisfaction with the combining of measures that concern the members of national minorities and women with disabilities, since such measures do not take into account women’s specific experiences, and the omission of the chapter Woman and Peace Building.

Tatjana Broz from CESI pointed out the need to define the indicators by which the results of the implementation of previous national policies could be determined with certainty as well as the need of making new ones. She also noted a short deadline stipulated by the Office for Making Complaints and Suggestions about the National Policy Draft.

Gordana Sobol from SDP talked about the uncertainty of survival of a large number of autonomous women’s houses and about the non-existence of a separate chapter on women’s health. She also brought up the issue of unavailability of the report on the implementation of the previous National Policy (2008 – 2010), to which she received the response that the report is going to be published as soon as the Government accepts it. According to Sobol, seeing as it is the Parliament or the Gender Equality Committee that adopts the National Policy, they are the ones who should be discussing the report on its implementation.

As the short time limit of the discussion was mentioned on several occasions, the Head of the Office for Gender Equality decided to extend the debate on the Draft and to allow for written comments and suggestions to be delivered by Wednesday, May 11, which is five days longer than the original deadline.

Roundtable on the subject of balanced representation in politics

The roundtable entitled “Parliamentary Elections 2011 – How to reach a balanced representation of women and men in the Croatian Parliament?” was held on October 17, 2011, at Hotel Dubrovnik in Zagreb, organized by the Office for Gender Equality. As part of the event, the Center for Women’s Studies’ representative Zorica Siročić presented the campaign Ad-acta Stop Gender Discrimination on Gender Lists, which is being implemented in partnership with the CEE Network for Gender Issues and in collaboration with the Serbian National Council, and with financial support from the European Union. Along with NGO representatives, the roundtable was attended by Helena Štimac Radin, Head of the Office for Gender Equality, Davor Orlović, member of the State Election Commission of the Republic of Croatia, Renato Kunić, assistant acting editor-in-chief of the Croatian Television, and representatives of the political parties represented in the Croatian Parliament.

For more about the event, see

Roundtable announcement – October 25, 2011

The Center for Women’s Studies invites you to the roundtable Gender policies in the context of the forthcoming elections and EU membership which will take place on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11AM at Novinarski dom in Zagreb. The roundtable will be held as part of the project AD ACTE – Anti-Discrimination ACtions Towards Equality of women and men which is being implemented in partnership with the CEE Network for Gender Issues and in collaboration with the Serbian National Council, with financial support from the European Union.

The Center invites all interested citizens, and especially reporters, representatives of academia, institutions, civil society and other important social actors to participate and contribute to this roundtable.

Roundtable participants:

Astrid Thors – MP for Swedish People’s Party of Finland
Sonja Lokar – CEE Network for Gender Issues, Slovenia
Josip Šipić – Economic Institute, Zagreb
Ana Lovrin – MP for HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union)
Gordana Sobol – president of the Gender Equality Committee of the Croatian Parliament
Tajana Broz – CESI – Center for Education, Counseling and Research, Zagreb

Moderator: Marjeta Šinko – Center for Women’s Studies / Faculty of Political Science

The event is open to all, and if you are interested in coming, please confirm your attendance at or by telephone 01/234 5678.