The Slovenia Times

Women's Day: Gender Equality Still Vital Goal


Statistics released ahead of 8 March also show that women prevail in low-paid occupations, while senior officials and managers are more likely to be men with twice as many males (29,015) as females (14,905) in latter jobs at the end of 2013.

Yet it is female graduates that prevail in most courses with the exception of higher vocational training and the pre-Bologna doctoral courses. Women have caught up with men in doctoral degrees, while under the Bologna system more women obtained doctorate (3rd Bologna level) in 2012 at 54 to 17.

Data from the Statistics Office for 2013 also shows that female gross monthly pay equalled 94.6% of male pay. The gap was lowest in the south-east of the country (EUR 17 in favour of women) and widest in Gorenjsko in north-west at 10.6% in favour of men.

However, figures from the EU's statistical office Eurostat for 2013 show that Slovenia had the lowest pay gap in the bloc at 3.2%, compared to the average of 16.4% and 29.9% in Estonia, which had the highest gap. Similarly, a Deloitte survey has shown that women's position in business is comparatively good.

Women fill about a quarter of posts on management boards of listed companies but represent only 5% of chairmen and executive directors, the main reasons for which those surveyed by Deloitte cited family obligations, traditional mentality and lack of interest among women for top managerial posts.

It is mothers who as a rule stay home when their child is sick, although this is changing too with data from the National Public Health Institute showing the ratio between fathers and mothers taking sick leave to care for their ill child rising to 4.5 women per man in 2013 from 6.8:1 in 2000.

Women are also at greater risk of poverty and unemployment. Joblessness stood at 14.2% among women in December 2014 compared to male at 12%, with 15.4% women and 13.5% men at risk of poverty in 2013.

Commenting on the statistics, sociologist and historian Irena Selišnik of the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts says that the differences between the genders are likely to remain for a while yet, considering that women's position changes for the duration of one generation.

However, values do not change with a single generation, says Selišnik, an expert on gender equality, adding that to improve women's position on the labour market the government should help them care for children, thus improving their job opportunities. She also suggests adopting various quotas in companies.

Finding that despite traditionally active gender policy and despite progress in the field the goals have yet to be achieved, the government has pledged it will continue with the efforts to boost gender equality, including by drawing up a national gender equality programme for 2015-2020.

In her message ahead of International Women's Day, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Anja Kopač Mrak has warned that passivity in gender equality can lead back to the time when today's rights were not taken for granted.

Kopač Mrak said women should not forget their predecessors revolted against the established order and fought for the right to vote and so that women today can study at university, make decisions concerning their body and enter the labour market.

The minister warned that even today women too easily accepted the argument of natural division of labour, that is that biological differences between the genders decided which tasks were more appropriate for men and which for women.

Gender equality is an important principle of democracy, however "it is not and cannot be merely a women's affair - gender equality is a social issue, a matter of women and men. Gender equality is a gain for everyone - girls, boys, women, men, society," Kopač Mrak.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer pinpointed violence against women as a major problem, urging the state to adopt a zero-tolerance approach and to help not only victims but also perpetrators.

She also pointed to mobbing and sexual harassment against women as well as to problems women face as they try to enter the job market on completion of their education.


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