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.