PRESS RELEASE

Gender Equality Index produced for the first time in Montenegro

To achieve gender equality, Montenegro needs to eradicate discriminatory practices, primarily in the domains of power and money

Podgorica, 29 January 2020Gender Equality Index was calculated for the first time in Montenegro. In order to close the gap between men and women, the report calls for stronger leadership for institutional transformation, coupled with adequate financial resources. The index values and report findings were launched today at a conference jointly organised by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), EU Delegation to Montenegro, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights, in cooperation with the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister for Political System, Interior and Foreign Policy of the Government of Montenegro and the National Statistical Office (MONSTAT).

Gender Equality Index was developed by MONSTAT, upon the initiative of the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights. The calculations are based on EIGE methodology, which is used to measure inequalities in EU member states and pre-accession countries. This tool serves to monitor progress in overcoming inequalities in six core domains: work, money, knowledge, time, power, health, and two additional dimensions: violence and intersecting inequalities.

“It is clear that today our society needs more understanding and closer cooperation, building on the values that unite us, despite all our differences and specificities. First and foremost, that requires strengthening and protection of universal human rights and freedoms, including the advancement of the position and rights of women in Montenegrin society,” said Zoran Pažin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice in the Government of Montenegro. All social actors who pursue this valuable social mission, who advocate that everyone is equal before the law and promote full gender equality, will have a sincere ally and support in the Government of Montenegro, Deputy Prime Minister Pažin concluded.

With the index value of 55 (out of maximum 100 points), Montenegro scored lower than the EU average of 67.4. Top of the ladder is held by Sweden, Denmark, France, Finland and the UK, while four EU member states scored lower than Montenegro – Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Greece. At the national level, women in Montenegro are least equal when it comes to Power, followed sequentially by Time, Knowledge, Money and Work. Highest equality was observed in the domain of Health. Greatest differences between the EU countries and Montenegro were recorded in the domains of Money and Power. 

“It is important to calculate the Index regularly in order to assess the gender gap that needs to be closed. It helps us to assess whether economies and societies are prosperous and this would not be possible if one half of the population's talent is not developed and used. The Index can also help us to have more reliable and comprehensive data on gender equality for developing better evidence-based policies” said Hermann Spitz, Head of Cooperation Sector at the EU Delegation to Montenegro.

The report reveals deep-rooted inequalities, sometimes masked behind average values. For example, the majority of employees in education are women (76.6%) but the decision-making positions are still mainly covered by men (63% directors of schools and kindergartens are men). Working women face numerous discriminatory practices in the workplace, while motherhood is often the biggest obstacle for progressing, retaining or even obtaining the job. At job interviews, women are still asked about their marital status (64.1%), how many children they have (45.5%) or even their plans to have children (35.6%). 

“In looking for the solutions, we will have to unmask the root causes of gender inequality, usually deeply rooted in cultural norms and biases. Commonly, they create the invisible obstacles in implementation of often well thought-through policies and laws that should deliver for equality,” said Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro. She concluded that we don’t have to go far to look for good practices, as the experience of the Women’s Political Network testifies how considerable results can be reached through constructive dialogue.

Women are often pushed into low-paid sectors and occupations despite higher educational attainments, as evident from the gender pay gap (14%-16% difference in income). They own only 4% of all real-estate properties, which increases their financial insecurity and dependency. This often leads to a number of other deprivations, from not being able to escape an abusive relationship to not being able to start a business, as real estate is required as security against bank loans. Hence, the number of companies owned by women in Montenegro is still under 10%.

“I would like to congratulate Montenegro on its first Gender Equality Index, which will enable the country to monitor progress on gender equality. As in the EU, Montenegro’s score for the domain of health shows that, while full equality has not yet been achieved, the country is on a good path. And as in the EU, the most ground remains to be made up in the domain of power. The detailed analysis provided by the Index should facilitate the design of tailored policy responses to address such issues,” said Virginija Langbakk, Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality.

On a daily basis, women carry the ‘double burden’ of balancing paid and unpaid activities, along with disproportionate distribution of family duties and domestic chores. The bleak prospects are further exacerbated by the fact that patriarchal norms are prevailing even among our youth: according to the latest surveys, more than 60% of young people don’t think that men and women should share the housework (source Westminster Foundation for Democracy, August 2019). 

Gordana Radojević, Director of the Statistical Office of Montenegro reminded about the findings: “The Gender Equality Index for Montenegro is 55, while for the EU-28 it is 67.4. Compared to EU-28, Montenegro recorded a lower index value by 12.4 index points. The Index calculation shows that the largest gap is in the domain of Money (lower index value by 20.7 points compared to the EU-28 average), while the smallest gap in Montenegro compared to the EU-28 average is recorded in the domain of Health (lower index value by 1.2 points compared to EU average 28).”

During the panel discussion: “Gender Equality Index: EU accession and the wellbeing of women”, participants discussed the findings in the context of everyday life. Panellists were experts and professionals from domains relevant to the index: Dragana Radević, Director of Institute for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (Money), Sonja Tomović Šundić, professor at the Faculty of Political Science (Knowledge), Miloš Vuković, CEO Fidelity Consulting (Work), Mirjana Ivanović, Advisor to Prime Minister for Media (Time), Mr. Siniša Bjeković, Ombudsman (Power), Jelena Radulović, Sociologist (Health).

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Download “Gender Equality Index” Report for Montenegro

The report was produced within the EU-funded project “Support to Anti-discrimination and Gender Equality Policies” implemented by UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights.

Photo gallery from the event

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