Where do Montenegrin women stand in politics and entrepreneurship?
Women in Montenegro face an increased threat of domestic violence. They are also politically marginalized and economically disadvantaged. With only 13.6% of women parliamentarians, Montenegro takes 99th place among countries of the world, where the average representation is 19.6%. Montenegro holds the last place among countries of former Yugoslavia - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia, where the less represented sex takes between 21 and 32% of MP seats. In the entrepreneurship sector, women are even more underprivileged. Compared to 21% of male population, only 9% of Montenegrin women possess their own business, despite the fact that they are more educated than men.
UNDP’s Gender Program IPA 2010 came to these striking data through a couple of comprehensive surveys on women entrepreneurship and attitudes towards women in politics in Montenegro, and is continuously addressing these issues. The program’s focus is on the elimination of obstacles for women and changing gender stereotypes in Montenegrin society. After a number of activities within the 16 Days of fight against domestic violence campaign, advocacy for gender equality continued. Together with partners from the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights, Department for gender equality and the EU Delegation in Montenegro, representatives from the Gender Program organized two milestone events – the international two day conference “Women to politics, politics to women” and the signing of Memoranda of Cooperation with the municipalities of Cetinje, Kolašin and Mojkovac on development of women entrepreneurship.
At the “Women to politics, politics to women” conference, Mr. Suad Numanović, Minister for Human and Minority Rights pointed out that there are 17% of women in the Parliament, three of them being ministers, so far the highest percentage when it comes to women's participation in political and public life. “This is not enough to achieve equality. In addition to the adoption of the regulations, we need to continue raising awareness of the need for a greater involvement of women in the public sphere,” Minister Numanović said. Mr. Mitja Drobnič, Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro emphasized: “Although women in Montenegro are more educated than men, they are by 25% less represented in the labour market. This means women should be provided with grants and training, as well as with financial and institutional support”. Mr. Rastislav Vrbensky, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro underlined that since 2009 the number of women on the electoral list increased by 100%. “So in 2009 we had only 15% of women on electoral lists and this year we have 30% thanks to the introduction of gender quotas. While quotas are not fully formulated as we requested the number of MPs increased from 10 to 17% - the highest number of women in the Parliament in its history,” Mr. Vrbensky concluded.
Mayors of Cetinje, Kolašin and Mojkovac signed Memoranda of cooperation on development of women entrepreneurship with Ms. Dawn Adie-Baird, Task Manager at the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Mr. Suad Numanović, Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Mr. Rastislav Vrbensky, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. Mr. Aleksandar Bogdanović, Mayor of the Old Royal Capital Cetinje said that they would initiate a variety of businesses and works on removal of barriers for women in entrepreneurship: “We will undertake more concrete steps to revitalize the future economy.” Mr. Dejan Medojević, Mayor of Mojkovac said that by the end of the year they would adopt spatial plans to provide business development opportunites, especially for women. Mr. Darko Brajušković, Mayor of Kolašin stated that they had joined this project hoping to exploit their own comparative advantages, especially in the area of tourism.
The activities planned within the Memorandum of Cooperation will be implemented during the next 16 months. Through education and mentoring support, women who want to start business, or are already in bussiness but want to upgrade it, will be supported in order to upgrade the level of knowledge, skills and number of contacts needed for a successful entrepreneurship. Also, local self-governments will receive expert support in developing new, gender-sensitive mechanisms for entrepreneurship. In that way a greater use of women enterpreneurship potential and economic prosperity would be enabled at the local level. The Program will start in the municipalitie of Cetinje, Kolašin and Mojkovac, and in the next phase two more northen municipalities will be included (Pljevlja and Žabljak). All municipal activities will be supported through the UNDP Gender Program IPA 2010, financed by the EU Delegation to Montenegro.