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Central Europen Centre for Women and Youth in Science
Chairlady of the Committee for Gender Equality of the Slovak Academy of sciences dr. Elena Gramatová submitted a proposal of establishing small “kindergarten” in place Patronka at the Slovak Academy to Presidium.


A report by OSI's Network Women's Program, Equal Opportunities for Women and Men: Monitoring Law and Practice in New Member States and Accession Countries of the European Union, describes and evaluates gender equality mechanisms, policies, and programs in Central and Eastern Europe. Gender equality is still far from being a reality in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the report.


 

Basic documents addressing gender equality: 

  • The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women 
  • Slovak Republic ratified in 2000 the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women 
  • In 1996, Slovakia established the Coordination Committee for Women’s Issues, which developed the Action Plan for Women in 1997 
  • In 2001 Slovak government approved the Conception of equal opportunities for men and women.

 

General conclusions

Promoting gender equality and anti-discrimination in Slovakia requires public awareness, political and institutional commitment, mechanisms for accountability, appropriate legislation, clear policies, structures, procedures, resources (human and financial) and coherent and realistic strategies. Much, however, remains to be done….

 

Concerning gender equality and the ongoing democratization process in Slovakia

The institutionalization of gender equality and anti-discrimination are fundamental principles in ongoing processes of democratization. Democracy means building institutions which are accessible to Slovak women and men, and which reflect and respond to their needs.

 

Concerning the critical linkages between legislative and institutional changes required

Legislation is a necessary precondition for achieving gender equality. But to be effective, legislation has to be backed up by institutions for implementation and enforcement. It is clear that external pressure during the accession phase has given rise to some changes in legislation and institutions. However, internal needs and Slovakian realities must continue to be reflected in these changes.

 

Concerning the need for information and informed public debate

Citizens need more information for informed debate on critical gender equality and anti-discrimination issues in order to encourage their participation in structures and political processes, and in order to influence policy outcomes. Information, such as statistical data illustrating the extent of structural inequalities in society, for example in remuneration for work of equal value discrimination, needs to be widely disseminated and discussed.

 

Concerning Parliamentary structures, citizen’s participation and political processes

The structures in the Parliamentary sphere, namely the Committee and Commission, are making key contributions to the legislative process and also to the political processes required for establishing institutions. The political ‘space’ provided to Slovak women (and men) by the Commission is a new feature in the political landscape and provides real strategic potential for advancing the gender equality agenda. The inclusion of representatives of women workers, NGOs, women activists and citizens’ groups in this forum is an important contribution to the creation of democratic institutions.

 

Concerning the contribution of MOLSAF to the gender equality agenda in Slovakia

MOLSAF and the Department of Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination have been crucial in developing the Equal Opportunities and gender equality agenda in Slovakia since the Beijing process. The CCWI played an important role in this process and there is currently a weakness in the current executive institutional framework for gender equality due to the absence of an effective policy coordinating body with a clear mandate.

 

Specific recommendations for taking the process further

  • Recognizing that for more equitable policy outcomes, there should be gender balanced representation of women and men in decision-making, as well as representation of gender equality issues by men and women, the following steps are required: 
  • Proposed amendments to the electoral law must make provision for increased representation of women in positions which will ensure their election;
  • Strategies for raising awareness through progressive media should be implemented to emphasize that gender imbalance in decision-making is not simply a ‘women’s’ issue’, but reflects structural discrimination and inequalities in the Slovak society. Society as a whole will benefit from redressing structural discrimination; 
  • There is a need for lobbying by both men and women in Parliament and political parties for more balanced representation and ensuring that gender equality issues are on the agenda.

 

Recognizing that currently there is no policy or coordination body for gender equality at government level, and that MOLSAF does not have the legal mandate or capacity for overall responsibility, there is a need to: 

  • Work towards strengthening the executive through the establishment of a body for the coordination and monitoring of national policy for gender equality and anti-discrimination; 
  • Build capacity within individual ministries and at regional and local levels of self-government for mainstreaming gender equality.

 

Recognizing the importance of having independent monitoring of gender equality and anti-discrimination in the future, there is a need to: 

  • Work towards the establishment of an Ombudsperson /or independent ‘watchdog’ body for gender equality and anti-discrimination in Slovakia. Further technical assistance to support such institutional changes should be sought and government commitment to financial sustainability secured.


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Central European Centre for Women and Youth in Science is a project funded by the European Commission
under Framework Programme 6 in the Structuring the ERA specific programme.