Happy International Women’s Day

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Equal society as a society of equal opportunities and profound legislative changes that strengthen women’s rights by providing them with greater protection remain a priority of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration.

“Gender inequality affects all segments of life and society. Combating violence against women cannot be effective without ensuring and empowering gender equality. The working environment cannot be successful without a safe, high-quality and motivating environment for women", said Minister Malenica on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Combating gender-based violence

This week, the Government of the Republic of Croatia sent a package of laws to strengthen the protection of women victims of violence and to tighten penalties for gender-based violence or violence directed at women because of their gender or violence that affects women disproportionately.

Those legal amendments introduce a new criminal offence of aggravated murder of a female person i.e. femicide, redefine the provision on sexual harassment, for which there will no longer be a possibility of a misdemeanour, but will only be prosecuted as a criminal offence. Previous amendments to the Criminal Code have introduced the criminal offence of the misuse of sexually explicit content, with the aim of tougher sanctioning of the misuse of a relationship of trust, and extended the definition of a close person in order to impose stricter penalties for a wide range of crimes the victims of which are mostly women.

The Criminal Procedure Act provides for greater rights for women victims of violence.

Gender equality as a fundamental principle in the civil service

At the beginning of this year, two key laws in the civil service legislation came into force - the Civil Service Act and the Act on Salaries in the Civil Service and Public Services, in which gender equality is one of the fundamental principles.

At the proposal of the Ombudsperson for Gender Equality, due to the absence from work of pregnant women and persons benefiting from the maternity and parental support system, provisions on civil servants’ performance appraisal have been changed. The new Act stipulates that periods of maternity, parental, adoptive or paternity leave, part-time work due to the need for enhanced child care, leave of a pregnant female civil servant or part-time work for the care of children with developmental disabilities are considered as full-time work. It is therefore provided that civil servants whose period of absence from work lasts for more than six months are to be appraised as ‘successful’. In this way, female civil servants on maternity or parental leave or working part-time due to a special need of care for the child cannot be put in an unequal position.

The new Act on Salaries in the Civil Service and Public Services, Article 4, guarantees gender equality, i.e. equal pay of female civil servants. 

With the entry into force of the Decree on Job Titles, Assignment Requirements and Salary Coefficients in the Civil Service as of April this year, coefficients will be increased for 26,988 civil servants and governmental employees, 51 % of which are women.

In the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, women account for 70 % of managers are women.

Greater representation of women on boards of directors and supervisory boards of companies

The Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on improving the gender balance among directors of listed companies and related measures of 23 November 2022 was adopted with the aim of ensuring the principle of equal opportunities and achieving gender balance among top management positions. 

The Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, in cooperation with the Chair for Company Law of the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb has started the process of drafting amendments to the Companies Act in order to transpose the Directive into the Croatian legislative framework.

Amendments to the Companies Act will prescribe an obligation for companies that have less than 40 % of the members of the under-represented sex in positions of non-executive directors or less than 33 % in all positions of directors, to elect candidates for boards of directors or supervisory boards with a view to achieving gender balance on boards.

The Ministry of Justice and Public Administration will continue with a proactive approach to ensuring equality in society.

The Ministry of Justice and Public Administration wishes you a happy Women’s Day!