Allow me to report a progress in the Slovak Republic and to share best practice regarding the gender equality in general and in the area of economic empowerment of women in particular.
In 2015, Slovakia started to implement the Strategy and Action Plan for Gender Equality 2014–2019 which is the Slovak government’s fundamental programming document. By implementing the tasks defined in this plan, the Slovak Republic aims a compliance with the commitments resulting from the European Union membership as well as the main findings of the CEDAW committee including those from November 2015.
Our effort has already led to positive results. We proudly can report a significant progress by reducing the gender pay gap within last 10 year; while in 2005 it has reached 27%, it continuously dropped up to 18% in last year. Of course, it still represents a major inequality factor. To support the employment of women, our Ministry implemented the national project Family and Work aimed at reconciliation of family and working life particularly for mothers of small children. Within the project, flexible working arrangements and child care facilities have been financially supported via ESF throughout Slovakia. Supporting working parents is an important social policy in Slovakia. In general, mothers of newborns are entitled to 34 weeks maternity leave with a payment of 75% of previous income. Furthermore, fathers are entitled to take 28 weeks by same conditions which is becoming very popular while strengthening equal parenthood.
The Slovak presidency in the Council of EU last year has prepared several initiatives focused on particular challenges which are common in most of the EU countries.
In cooperation with European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the Slovak Presidency reviewed the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action by the EU Member States in the area of “Women and Poverty”. Emphasis has been given to the monitoring of the situation of the most disadvantaged groups of women, including Roma, and to identifying the multidimensional problem and causes of female poverty. Based on the findings of the study, the council of EU ministers for social affairs adopted Council conclusion with several recommendations to improve the position of women in the EU.
Balancing work, family and private life is a prerequisite for the higher participation of women in the labour market and their economic independence; with this in mind, a conference has been held in Bratislava dedicated to the reconciliation of work, family and private life in a changing society.