On 6 November 2018 the Ombudsperson for Gender Equality presented new EU project “Equal rights – Equal Pay – Equal Pensions” – Expanding the scope of implementation of gender equality actions and legal standards towards achieving gender equality and combating poverty in Croatia. Project was presented by coordinator Ombudsperson for Gender Equality; partner organizations: Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, CESI – Centre for Education, Counselling and Research, Retired Persons’ Trade Union of Croatia and Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (Belgium) and supporting state bodies: Ministry of Science and Education, Ministry of Public Administration and Croatian Bureau of Statistics
Event was opened by Ombudsperson for Gender Equality Višnja Ljubičić who explained gender pay gap and gender gap in pensions situation and presented project: goals, partners, supporting state bodies, project worth and duration, activities and results.
She emphasized that we marked European Equal Pay Day on 3 November 2018, date that is calculated on Eurostat figure and symbolizes when women across the EU would stop earning for the rest of the year in comparison to men.
In EU women earn on average 16,2 % less than men, and in Croatia 11 % less. The Ombudsperson indicated that these numbers could be the result of specific condition: number of part-time jobs held by women is higher than part-time jobs held by men, lower-paying jobs in predominantly female occupations, facing glass ceiling and household responsibilities.
According to data for the reporting year published by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (gathered in 2015), the average monthly gross salary was 7,471 HRK for women and 8,422 HRK for men, which means that women earned 11,3% less than man. The Ombudsperson previously indicated that these numbers could be the result of vertical segregation, a situation where women in the areas of activity are traditionally employed in hierarchically lower positions that are connected to lower pay.
The pension gap is directly related to the existing pay gap which causes the disadvantageous position of women and the increased risk of their poverty to continue even after they leave the labour market. Gender gap in pensions in Croatia was at 20,4 % in 2014 and in EU was at 36,6 %.
The pension gap between women and men aggravates the situation of women when it comes to their economic vulnerability and leaves them exposed to social exclusion, constant poverty and economic dependence, especially on their (marital or extramarital) partners. Namely, according to data published in the aforementioned Report of the European Parliament, the percentage of older women who were at risk of poverty and social exclusion (in 2014) was 20.2%, compared to 14.6% of men.
The pension gap also reflects the segregation of market labour and points to a higher percentage of women working part-time, for lower wages, with breaks in employment and fewer years of employment due to unpaid work they do as mothers and careers in their families. In this context, and as also stated in the Report of the European Parliament, it is obvious that the pension gap is positively related to the number of children raised during life and that the pension gap between men and women in the case of married women and mothers is much greater than the one for single women with no children.
The Ombudsperson indicated that project “Equal rights – Equal Pay – Equal Pensions” deals with the nearly invisible topic of gender pay and pension inequalities, resulting in social and economic insecurity of women. The project is aimed at ensuring standards, measures and actions that will contribute to raising awareness about the problem of pay and pension gaps between men and women with a view to reducing the risk of poverty for women. Target groups are representatives of competent authorities, public and private companies, trade unions and high school students at the national and local levels. Total project worth is €468,510.20. The project started on 1 October 2018 and will end on 30 September 2020.
Attendees at the conference were: representatives of Government of the Republic of Croatia, international institutions, ministries, City of Zagreb, academic community, unions, institutes, political parties, presidents of county Gender Equality Committees, Gender Equity Coordinators in state administration, representatives of civil society organizations and media. Speakers were: Marko Krištof, Director General of Croatian Bureau of Statistics; Branka Ramljak, State Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Education; Katica Prpić, State Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration; Renata Margaretić Urlić, Special Envoy of President of Croatia and Adviser to the President of Croatia for Social Affairs and Youth and Irena Petrijevčanin Vuksanović, Envoy of President of Croatian Parliament and member of parliament.
Performance “Yesterday, today, tomorrow”, directed by Mario Kovač and i Petra Radin was performed during the conference. Actors were children and adults Petra Težak and Rade Radolović. Thea presented unequal benefits among women and men as result of their work. Actors read letter written by mother of six children who faced gender inequality in the labour market.
Representatives from the partner organizations held short presentations: Josip Šipić, Institute for Social Research in Zagreb; Anamarija Tkalčec, CESI – Centre for Education, Counselling and Research; Mia Škarica, Retired Persons’ Trade Union of Croatia; Hildegard Van Hove, Institute for the Equality of Women and Men.