Gender Issues 2007: Violence against Women, Gender Pay Gap, Access to Childcare Facilities, Implementing Gender Policies

Since the European accession, the new member states have been committed to implementation of gender equality. The neighbouring countries seeking closer cooperation with the European Union and access to its financial development aid should abide by the standards related to equal treatment of women and men. It turns out, however, that regardless of which political parties hold power, authorities do not take gender equality seriously. The governments do not consider it a priority. Despite satisfactory legislation, which was passed due to the European integration, or in relation to an opportunity of closer cooperation with the European Union, implementation of the commitments at the governmental levels is questionable. One of the most difficult barriers is the lack of political will at the decision-making level, and the disregard for the issues of gender equality. One can also observe a tendency to misuse gender equality to promote neoconservative policies, which solidify inequalities between women and men. For that reason, systematic monitoring of actual achievements in gender equality and of the use of EU funds to promote equal opportunities for women and men seems to be crucial.

The publication „Gender Issues 2007“ is a result of a project, which constitutes an attempt to meet this need. Bearing in mind the commitments related to the EU membership or to closer cooperation with the EU, in collaboration with our partner organisations from the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine, and in the framework of the regional program „Gender Democracy and Women’s Politics“, we would like to monitor implementation of selected issues of gender equality. We want to pay special attention to those aspects of gender equality, which have not been explored deeply, hoping that our analyses will help to fill this gap. In 2007, the focus in the Czech Republic
was on accessibility of childcare facilities for children under 3 years old of age; in Poland – implementation of the act on counteracting domestic violence; in Slovakia – gender pay gap; and in Ukraine – implementation of the issues of gender equality in the context of the EU’s Strategy for Ukraine in 2007-2013.

The publication contains summaries of national reports devoted to the above issues in individual countries. These analyses show, that despite obvious differences related to specific national contexts, there are similar trends in the respective countries. For example, the situation analysed in the Czech report, i.e. insufficient childcare facilities, has very much in common with what we can observe in Poland. In turn, the Slovak report presents a broader background of the gender pay gap, and its conclusions could relevantly apply to the situation in other countries. Each national report contains specific recommendations, which, given all similarities, can be used by organisations, individual experts and activists engaged in promoting gender equality and justice.

We hope that this publication will give you a deeper insight into selected aspects of gender equality policies in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. We hope that it will inspire further debate on the issues of gender equality.

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Heinrich Böll Foundation
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