Half of the citizens believe that full gender equality is impossible to achieve

June 16, 2021

Podgorica, June 16, 2021 – Every other citizen believes that women and men are different to the extent that it makes it impossible to fully achieve gender equality. Also, half of the citizens believe that the employer has the legal right to request a certificate that the job candidate is not pregnant. Three-quarters of the employees in state institutions would support the introduction of quotas for women in high-ranking management positions in the Government.

These are the findings from the research on the attitudes and perceptions of citizens and public administration employees on gender equality, which was conducted on a representative sample and presented today at the conference of the United Nations Development Office (UNDP) in Montenegro "Equality at the Heart of Government".

When it comes to the attitudes of citizens, the research shows that about 60 percent believe that for the benefit of children, it is more desirable for a man to work, and for a woman to fully commit herself to the family.

Although gender inequality and discrimination against women are clearly perceived in the public administration, two-thirds of employees believe that the issue of gender equality is excessively imposed today as an unnatural and unachievable goal that does not significantly improve the position of women in Montenegro. Despite the fact that women make up only one-quarter of the total management staff in public administration, two out of three men believe that women are adequately represented in governing bodies, while women hold a different opinion. Namely, one in two women believes that there should be significantly more of them. As many as 60 percent of public administration employees are not sure whether a gender analysis has been conducted in their institution in the last year.

Tamara Srzentić, Minister of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, pointed out that the Ministry has placed the gender equality issue high on the list of priorities.

"It is indeed one of the strategic imperatives of our team. We believe that diversity and equality in inclusion are essential for a successful organization and that it is crucial for our team to reflect the diversity of the public we serve. Our goal is to increase access, remove barriers, develop skills, and empower people who might in some way be marginalized and excluded from creating and implementing government policies, programs, and services. We are committed to promoting an inclusive environment in which all individuals will feel free to express themselves fully, where their uniqueness will be valued and where they will feel part of the team," Srzentić said.

Daniela Gašparikova, UNDP Resident Representative in Montenegro, reminded everyone of the Conference on Women in Beijing, which was adopted 26 years ago, and which highlights that women's participation in all spheres of society represents the basis for achieving equality and development.

"Many of us would think that a quarter of a century is enough to achieve the goals set in Beijing. The reality, however, is different. Women globally, and thus in Montenegro, are still underrepresented in decision-making positions and leadership positions. The road to gender equality is long and challenging one and requires a comprehensive approach, responsibility and joint action of all: private and public sector institutions and individuals," said Gašparikova, adding that UNDP intends to continue its long-term work with partners to empower women in all spheres of life and influence better design and implementation of gender-equality policies.

Herman Spitz, head of the cooperation section of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, believes that Montenegro needs to strengthen its efforts to integrate a gender perspective into its policies and reforms, including in the public administration sector.

"Elimination of gender inequality in public administration is important for the ongoing public administration reform in Montenegro, which is crucial for the of Montenegro's EU integration process. The EU will continue to support and monitor gender-responsive reforms in Montenegro, "said Spitz.

During the previous two years, UNDP and Human Resources Management Authority, worked intensively on capacity building in public administration, and implemented an accredited training program for trainers from the ranks of public administration. Certificates were awarded to 24 trainees today.