Jan 13

Strategy for human rights drafted

THE STATEWIDE Strategy for the Protection and Support of Human Rights has been approved by the Government Council for Human Rights, Ethnic Minorities and Gender Equality, with the document slated to be discussed by the government. It took three years to draft the Strategy and no one was excluded from the discussion about it, according to Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák who is serving as the coordinator for the drafting process and also chairs the government’s human rights council. No council member voted against the Strategy, with three members abstaining.  See more 

Jan 12

National strategy for gender equality and the National plan for gender equality for years 2014-2019

National strategy for gender equality and the National plan for gender equality for years 2014-2019

On July 9th 2014 the Government of the Slovak republic adopted the evaluation of the implementation of the National Action Plan for Gender Equality 2010-2013 by Resolution No. 335/2014 whereby creation of the national gender equality strategy and Action Plan for Gender Equality 2014-2019 were indicated.

The evaluation of the National Strategy for Gender Equality 2009-2013 and the National Action Plan for Gender Equality 2010-2013 indicated that despite the abovementioned formal equality (equality de jure) and adoption of important strategic and conceptual documents, it must be noted that inequalities between women and men persist in almost all areas of private and public life. Although there is no doubt that some progress has been made and positive results have been achieved, the Slovak republic continues to be bottom placed in the charts of composite indicators for gender equality in the EU[1] and the OECD countries. The proposed strategy therefore targets precisely those areas where the Slovak republic, in comparison with other EU countries, repeatedly shows major gender disparities.

Government of the Slovak republic adopted on November 20th 2014 the new National strategy for gender equality for years 2014-2019 (“the Strategy”) and a related National action plan for gender equality for years 2014-201(“the action plan”). Specific activities and measures were prepared and discussed in cooperation with NGOs and the Government Council for Human Rights, Ethnic Minorities and Gender Equality. The strategy and the action plan are interconnected and represent a comprehensive conceptual framework for the promotion of gender equality into practice.

The documents address and propose measures in 6 areas of concern:

  1. Economic empowerment and independence
  2. Decision-making
  3. Education
  4. Dignity
  5. Institutional mechanisms
  6. International cooperation

The Strategy and related action plan stem from the basic strategic documents of the European Union and the Council of Europe. These bind the member states to adopt positive measures aimed at reaching gender equality[2]. Both documents simultaneously reflect the recommendations made by relevant international monitoring bodies, particularly recommendations formulated in the Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Slovak Republic[3] as well as the commitments made by the Slovak republic itself as a response to these recommendations. Last but not least, the documents incorporate the tasks introduced in the Partnership Agreement with Slovakia on using EU Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs in 2014and the highlighted importance of equality between men and women as a horizontal principle, as well as the ex ante conditionality for utilizing the ESIF. Eventually, the strategy reflects the recommendations of the Council of the European Union made for the national programme of reforms of the Slovak Republic addressing areas relevant to gender equality.

The strategy is available in English on-line: http://www.gender.gov.sk/en/files/2015/06/Strategy_EN.pdf


[1] E.g. the EU Gender Equality Index, created by the European Institute for Gender Equality in 2013, where the SR is placed 4th from the end
[2] A comprehensive list of documents can be found on the website www.gender.gov.sk
[3]CEDAW/C/SVK/CO/4 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the forty-first session, 30. Jun – 18 July 2008

Nov 13

Norwegian funds

INGA Magistad, the Norwegian Ambassador to Slovakia, offers a long list of projects that have come to fruition thanks to the EEA/Norway Grants, including that of a community centre in Moldava nad Bodvou run by a local Roma woman who tutors children from the Roma settlement, as well as reconstructed cultural heritage monuments, a swimming pool for the disabled and shelters for abused women. Her homeland has so far allocated more than €150 million to support projects for social and economic development. See more

Nov 05

Family and Work Project

The Slovak government says it is aware of the impact of parenthood on the employment of men and women and the gender gap that exists here. The employment of women with children up to six years of age is below 40 percent compared with 83 percent in the case of men. The shortage of available and affordable child care is a leading cause.

“From the viewpoint of flexible forms of work and the harmonisation of family and work life there still exist in Slovakia, in spite of legislative conditions, significant shortcomings,” Michal Stuška, spokesman of the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs, told The Slovak Spectator. “Only a small number of employers use flexible forms of work, and Slovakia ranks in the long term among EU countries with the lowest share of employees working a short time, while flexible work forms are proving to be decisive when harmonising family and work life in the case of parents, especially mothers with pre-school children.”

This is the reason why the ministry began to prepare a national project, Family and Work, which aims to facilitate the harmonisation of family and work life.

“The pilot project should not only help to create innovative forms of services of child care but also to encourage employers to introduce flexible forms of work and employment of parents, especially women with pre-school age children,” said Stuška.

Within the project the ministry has prepared two main activities: support for the creation of various forms of child care via refunding personal costs of nursemaids, and support for flexible work forms such as short-time work contracts, telecommuting or home office, shared work place and others, while those workplaces at which the employer hires a woman with pre-school children or a parent returning from maternity leave will receive support. In this case, a significant portion of labour costs will be covered by the programme.

The project, which will last through December 2015, will get €23 million from EU funds and support employers across Slovakia, except the Bratislava Region, which is excluded from the project. The ministry plans to publish the invitation to join the project in November.

Whole article: http://spectator.sme.sk/articles/view/55240/19/work_life_balance_key_to_motivating_workers.html


Oct 08

Support for a balanced representation of women and men in leadership positions

Support for a balanced representation of women and men in leadership positions in employers’ organizations – a project funded by the European Commission under the grant scheme PROGRESS


Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family set out to actively promote a more balanced representation of women and men in decision-making. It will do so in the framework of a project titled “Support for a balanced representation of women and men in leadership positions in employers’ organizations ” funded from the grant scheme Progress of the European Commission. The project intends to address the existing inequalities in gender representation in these positions, which persist despite the fact that the proportion of women university graduates is now higher than 50%.

According to the latest data published by the European Commission in the framework of its annual survey “Women and men in decision-making”, women in Slovakia only constitute 18% of the supervisory boards. Their representation is even lower when it comes to executive positions where they constitute 13% of the board of directors, and mere 10% in the top positions. The above-mentioned project is at the moment being successfully implemented in Austria and the Czech Republic. Its primary aim is an active promotion of balanced representation of women and men in leadership, through a number of activities. The activities aim to raise awareness and sensitize the public, particularly employers, regarding the persistent inequalities in the labour market, and highlight the positive impact of equal representation of both sexes in leadership, and last but not least, specific activities will aim to encourage women to network and share related experiences among themselves. The specific objectives of the project include:

  • Gathering information and identifying obstacles and good practices in terms of employing women in decision-making;
  • Improvement of the knowledge base on the impact of the gender dimension to the representation of women in leadership positions in organizations;
  • Development of tools to enhance gender equality in decision-making at different levels of hierarchy in private and public organizations.

With these objectives in mind, the ministry set out to promote exchange of experiences among employers and other key stakeholders via three regional conferences. These are to be held in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica and Košice. Employers will be further motivated to participate in an annual competition “Family, gender equality and equal opportunities – friendly employer, ” with a specific focus on promoting balanced participation of women and men in decision-making positions in their companies and organizations.

Among other outcomes, a methodological guide for employers’ organizations will be created by the Institute for Labour and Family Research, aiming to raise awareness and create conditions for a more balanced representation of women and men in organizations. The guide will allow each employer interested in this subject to understand and effectively dealt with issues of gender equality and equality of opportunities between men and women in his or her organization.


Sep 05

Campaign on gender pay gap

Women in Slovakia are still paid less for work than men, statistics show. The campaign titled “When I Grow Up” organised the Labour Ministry points out the difference in remuneration of men and women, State Secretary at the Labour Ministry Jozef Burian told an August 12 news conference in Bratislava. “Despite the fact that Slovakia has good legislation in this area, such as the Anti-Discrimination Act and the Labour Code, there are still differences,” he said.

“In Slovakia, women and mothers of young children, as well as women approaching retirement age are among the most disadvantaged groups on the labour market,” stressed Oľga Pietruchová, head of the Labour Ministry’s Department of Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities.

The topic of gender equality has been resonating in the European Union for a long time, while a number of guidelines and legislation has been adopted. Despite this, there is a big difference in access to senior positions and remuneration. In the European Union. women have to work 59 days per year more than men in order to earn the amount that men do. In Slovakia, it is 78 days more.


Aug 07

Slovakia´s periodic report to CEDAW

On July 9th the government of Slovak Republic approved the 5th and 6th periodic report to CEDAW (Committee for Elimination of Discrimination of Women) which has been subsequently sent to the UN. The report contains information on legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures that have been adopted for the purpose of implementing the convention in practice, and also the progress that has been made in this direction from consideration of the previous report in June 2009, up to 2013. The report focuses primarily on the implementation of the recommendations made in the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women adopted on 14 July 2008 after consideration of the Second, Third and Fourth Periodic Report of the Slovak Republic.

The submitted material was prepared by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the competent authorities in relevant areas and by the Committee for Gender Equality of the Government Council for Human Rights, National Minorities and Gender Equality (hereinafter the “Committee for Gender Equality”) in accordance with the UN Guidelines on the form and content of reports to be submitted by States Parties on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (HRI/GEN/2/Rev.1/Add.2) and the general recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter the “Committee”). The report has been reviewed by the Committee for Gender Equality and has been the subject of an interdepartmental review procedure.

The Report cites legislative and other measures that document the progress that has been made in eliminating discrimination against women, changes in the level of equality between women and men in political, social, economic and cultural life and the problems that persist in this area whose overcoming will be the subject-matter of subsequent plans, aims and policies.  Information on the fulfilment of specific recommendations in the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women after consideration of the Second, Third and Fourth Periodic Report of the Slovak Republic on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women[1] have been incorporated into the commentary on individual articles. An overview table of specific implementation activities is given in the conclusion of the Report.

Fifth and Sixth Periodic Reports of the Slovak Republic on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (for the period 2008–2013)


[1] Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Forty-first Session, 30 June to 18 July 2008


May 05

Policies targeting violence against women lacking

Women in social groups where speaking about violence is highly taboo use to hesitate to seek help, according to Pietruchová.

“Revealing violence would have serious impacts on many women,” Pietruchová said. “For example, the family’s reputation could be harmed, husband could lose his job, children could lose their father and the family its income.”

Women who experience violence try to do their best to change the situation. They want to stop the violence but at the same time they want to save their relationship or marriage. Only when all their efforts turn to be unsuccessful they approach people outside their family which is not always safe solution, according to Pietruchová.

Some mistreated women may also follow the pattern of so called Stockholm syndrome, the behaviour of victims who develop strong emotional tie to their abuser and try to apologise for their acts, Valkovič said. Moreover, even the police adopted motto: “help and protect” many people do not trust them, he added.

The whole article: http://spectator.sme.sk/articles/view/53694/2/policies_targeting_violence_against_women_lacking.html

Apr 05

Woman of Courage Award

Oľga Pietruchová of the Labour, Social Affairs and Family Ministry’s gender equality department received the embassy’s Woman of Courage Award for her “valiant efforts to uphold and promote the rights of all people, regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” the embassy said.

“We at the US Embassy admire and respect the work both of these impressive individuals have done to strengthen the human rights environment in Slovakia,” US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick said. “The examples they set daily have a direct impact on the lives of many, and I applaud their valiant efforts”.

The United States Embassy in Bratislava also presented Dubovcová with the Human Rights Defender Award on April 2 in recognition for “her efforts to defend and promote the rights of all Slovak citizens, and to ensure those rights are recognised and upheld by all relevant institutions throughout Slovakia”

Dec 05

Gender equality labeled as “culture of death”

The bishops associated with the Conference of Bishops of Slovakia (KBS) caused outrage among their opponents, but also among some of their followers, mainly with the language they used to describe what they see as a threat to the institution of traditional family in Europe. They repeatedly labelled gender equality efforts as “the culture of death” and same-sex marriages as “sodomitic mockery”.

Read more: http://spectator.sme.sk/articles/view/52300/2/pastoral_letter_divides_slovaks.html

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