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Equal rights for women in labour market in Lithuania

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Table of Contents Abstract.................................................................................................................2 Introduction.............................................................................................................3 Background: the development of labour market and women situation in Lithuania in 1990-2007.....................................................................................................................5 The Lithuanian gender policy: legal framework and institutional mechanism.......................................................................................................................................9 Analysis: the problems faced by women in Lithuanian labour market and their reasons.................................................................................................................12 The results of gender inequality in labour market in Lithuania................................................15 Example of the Northern countries: what could be learnt.......................................................17 Conclusion............................................................................................................19 Bibliography.........................................................................................................21 Abstract Gender equality is nowadays one of the main factors that describe a democratic society. In EU the policy on gender equality is a fundamental principle and the implementation of it is sought after in many countries. The development of gender equality in Lithuania and the present situation address the fact that conditions in the area of gender equality are getting better. Yet, the situation in labour market with respect to gender equality has a tendency to retrogress; such trend has recently been widely discussed in Lithuania. Consequently, I have developed an interest in the area of gender equality concerning women in labour market. The research question of this paper, therefore, is to what extent do women have equal rights with men in labour market in Lithuania? The scope of this research was to analyse the development of the situation of women position in labour market during the years 1990 to 2007, i.e. from the regaining of independence of Lithuania from the USSR. The main areas of focus were unemployment, differentiation of pay, categorisation of specialities and difficulties in the management of family and work life. Later, I attempted to present the policies of the state in the area of gender equality. The findings in these two sections led to the analysis of the existing situation and its impact on welfare of the state. Finally, an example of Scandinavian countries was used to suggest the improvement measures. My conclusion reaches the position that though Lithuania has a strong legal framework on gender equality, the reality demonstrates that there is a lack of implementation of it; there are still many cases in which women are under-represented in labour market in Lithuania. ...read more.

Middle

This is evidently shown by the fact that people more often appeal to this institution with their problems. The table below represents the data from the annual report of the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsman in 2007 about the number of complaints that were received over the last decade. The problem remains that more than 80% of all the complaints were issued in three biggest cities of Lithuania (Vilnius - 61%, Kaunas - 17%, Klaipeda - 5%); almost none of the complaints came from rural areas.21 Table 2. The number of complaints and investigations issued by Ombudsman in recent years22 When regarding the complaints related to gender equality issues women have addressed the institution of Ombudsman more actively than men during the years 1999 - 2004; from 2005 the number of men complaining grew rapidly and in 2007 it was almost equal to that of women.23 It is worth noticing that number of complaints related to sex discrimination increased almost by 1/3 during the last few years as can be seen from the data in the table below. Table 3. The number of complaints related to sex discrimination in recent years24 Another important documents dealing with gender equality and labour market are Labour Code, Law on Support for the Unemployed, Law on Safety and Health of Workers. Lithuania also has the National Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2005 - 2009 which analyses the problems not only in labour market, but also in other areas of social life such as politics, religion and nationality. This programme is aimed at improving the situation and offers various means to deal with current situation. The Minister of Social Security and Labour was commissioned to coordinate the gender issues in 2001.25 What is more, all other ministries are obliged to implement gender equality in their particular area of competence; also, more than 80 non-governmental organisations exist in Lithuania which draw attention to the needs of women and try to influence the development of gender-equal society.26 Evidently, Lithuania has established quite a good legal basis in the field of gender equality. ...read more.

Conclusion

After analysing the development of labour market during the years of independence and the institutions and legal basis on gender equality it can be stated that though Lithuania has created a strong basis for establishing gender equality the real situation reveals that position of women compared to that of men is still worse in many aspects and the policy of gender equality is not implemented fully. After the analysis of the problems of women in Lithuanian labour market, it can be observed that the most evident tendencies are the unequal pay for equal work, the categorisation of work to "feminine" and "masculine" professions, also the lack of coherent policy in integration of family and work life. Women still suffer because of the existing stereotypes and gender roles: they are still referred to as "mothers", "wives", "householders", but not "businesswomen", "professors" or "chief executives". The persisting situation is also due to the fact that women often accept the current situation and do not demonstrate serious actions towards the changing of the situation. The analysis shows that existing situation not only affects women, but also influences the state life. Such problems as loss in human resources, feminization of poverty and decrease in birthrates show that the equality of men and women is not only the empty talks of feminists. The coherent and systematic policy towards gender equality would benefit both women and men as it would result in the improvement of the overall situation of the state. Finally, to reach the best results the state should start to raise public awareness of the issue and encourage people not to be silent, but talk about the problems. The priority should be the rural areas of Lithuania as there is still lack of information about gender issues and understanding of the problem. It is also very important to start changing the mainstreams in society about the roles of men and women, for such policy would improve the possibilities of women in labour market and would also help to lead a better policy of family and work integration. Word count: 3. ...read more.

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