On the occasion of 8 March – International Women’s Day, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) wants to point out on the problem of insufficient representation of women in making of the most significant decisions for Montenegrin society, which encumbers and restricts the overall democratic process, more rational use of all capacities in the achievement of quality political decisions and the possibility of overall progress.
Nowadays, more than half a century since the period they first achieved their right of vote, the role of women in political decision-making is intolerably low compared to challenges that Montenegro faces in process of democratisation and Europeanization. Therefore, Montenegro is criticised, not just by European Commission, but also by other international organisations, such as the OSCE, Council of Europe, European Parliament and United Nations’ Committee for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
In its Montenegro Progress report for 2014, European Commission noted that progress in the area of gender equality is limited, and that the latest amendments of electoral legislation from February last year, that envisage every fourth place for female candidates on electoral lists, only slightly improved political participation of women, as well as that further, more serious, improvements need to be made in order to achieve progress and minimum of standards, which is 30% of women in local authorities and parliament.
According to the number of female MPs in parliament, Montenegro is statistically the last in region with 14,8%(1) , and is on the 119th place out of 186 countries in the world where these indicators are measured. There are only three female ministers in Government of Montenegro (17,6%), only one political party is led by a woman, while the percentage of women committee members is about 14% on national level, and only two women occupy the position of president of municipality. Also, women are few in management structures of political parties, and even fewer are the ones who have an actual influence on decision-making process in management structures of those parties. Furtheremore, based on the analysis of electoral lists and political party statutes from last local elections, held in 2014, in certain number of Montenegrin municipalities a conclusion can be made that parties failed to recognise the importance of establishing gender equality, thereby not even complying the minimum of requirements prescribed by law. Political parties have tremendous power in creation of public policies, rendering them particularly accountable for the introduction of principle of gender equality and realisation of women’s human rights. Whether certain political parties will adopt the concept of gender equality and in what manner, depends greatly on social representation of women and social status of concept of gender equality.
The inequality of women in political decision-making derives from the violation of all other rights of women and their poor economic status, violence, violation of women rights based on gender, marital and family status and maternity in Montenegro.
This is why we urge decision-makers to implement gender equality policy, as constitutional category that should permeate the entire system. That implies urgent further amendments to Law on election of committee members and MPs in part, which relates to issue of achieving gender balance in the area of political participation in line with the recommendations and international obligations of Montenegro.
The strategy of stimulating higher participation of women in politics needs to imply the development of state measures that will deal with problems conditioned by traditional definition of gender roles in society effectively, parallel with the adoption of new legislative solutions and quotas from the area of electoral legislation and functioning of political parties, especially through the process of education and operation of media, aimed to contribute equal distribution of work, equal opportunities in career advancement as well as equal distribution of family responsibilities.
(1) Bosnia i Herzegovina has 21,4 %, Croatia 23,8%, Macedonia 30,9%, Slovenia 33,2 i Serbia 32,4% of women
Petar Đukanović, programme coordinator