Good afternoon ladies and gentleman.
Here today we gathered together to celebrate equality and diversity. I believe all of us agree that those are the cornerstones of a democratic society.
On behalf of Lithuanian Women’s Lobby I am honored to welcome all the nominees and organizers of this significant event.
After all there are still stereotypes and obstacles that prevent us, women and men from full enjoyment of personal and professional live. Female captain of the ship or male as a kindergarten teacher is still very unusual and striking.
While recent results of the new Gender Equality Index are announced by EIGE we indicate 3 big achievements of the last period:
In 2011 an important development to combat violence against women in Lithuania occurred – the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence was amended. We were waiting more than 20 years. The law defines all forms of domestic violence more clearly and make it easier to prosecute perpetrators as well as provide support to victims and preventative measures. Strong network of specialized support centers throughout Lithuania offer proactive help to the victim.
Gender friendly amendments of Labour Code came into force since July 2017. One of the articles is devoted to gender equality and non-discrimination policy. Companies with more than 50 employees are obliged to prepare gender equality and non-discrimination plans.
On February 2017 Lithuania’s parliament adopted amendments to the Framework Law on Children’s Rights Protection on the fast track, which bans all types of violence against children, including corporal punishments.
Nevertheless Lithuania is not an exception from other European countries. There are issues such as wage gap, stereotypes in the media and reconciliation of work and life, vertical and horizontal segregation of the labor market. Lithuanian girls are still traditionally orientated to feminine positions and men to traditional masculine professions, women representation in decision-making is too low, ratification of the Istanbul Convention is still not on the political agenda. Existing rape statistics are very poor and do not include data about marital rape. Although reproductive rights are an integral part of the human rights package, they are still not protected by law in Lithuania. In Lithuania and other EU member states Violence against women and girls is pandemic! Violence against women and girls grows outside schools, universities and domestic environment, transfers to cyber space and lasts 24/7.
Unbalanced funding of NGOs is a very serious structural problem. Lithuanian NGOs cannot even benefit from EU support because of the lack of national co-financing.
Those inequality manifestations challenge us – women movement in Lithuania to stay stronger and work harder so future generations will grow happier.