Summary record of the 1341st meeting
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Friday, 30 October 2015, at 10 a.m.
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)
Combined fifth and six th periodic report s of Slovenia
The meet ing was called to order at 10 a.m.
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)
Combined fifth and six th periodic reports of Slovenia (CEDAW/C/SVN/5-6; CEDAW/C/SVN/Q/5-6 and Add.1)
At the invitation of the Chairperson, the delegation of Slovenia took places at the Committee table.
Ms. Vuk (Slovenia), introducing the State party’s periodic report and updating the Committee on recent developments, said that, in the period under review, the Government of Slovenia had been working hard to strengthen the institutions and legislation that were central to its efforts to eliminate discrimination, aware that creating robust institutional structures for the advancement of women was a priority area under the Beijing Platform for Action, which provided its main gender policy framework. Its first step, in 2013, had been to establish a discrete Equal Opportunities Department within the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, thereby filling the vacuum created when the Ministry had subsumed the former Office for Equal Opportunities in 2012. Budget constraints had precluded the re-establishment of a body with full organizational autonomy but the Equal Opportunities Department had returned women’s issues to the fore. In 2016, the Department would also benefit from a substantially increased budget.
The Government’s second step, in 2014, had been to create a new advisory and monitoring body, the Expert Council for Gender Equality, which was chaired by the Minister responsible for gender equality issues. Through the agency of the Expert Council and the Minister, gender issues were taken into account in all Cabinet-level decisions. To ensure that gender was also mainstreamed at lower decision-making levels, equal opportunities coordinators had been appointed in all ministries and municipal authorities were being encouraged to appoint local coordinators and develop local gender equality action plans.
Following the closure of the Office for Equal Opportunities, the Office of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality had also been subsumed into the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. However, the Government acknowledged the limitations of that situation and was looking to find a more appropriate organizational structure. The future mandate and remit of the Advocate would be established in a new law on protection against discrimination currently in the pipeline that would replace the Act on the Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment. It was hoped that those changes would resolve one of the biggest remaining challenges — that of how to implement the law effectively when victims were rarely willing to pursue complaints.
The Government had also been working to improve mechanisms for the implementation of laws, programmes and policies. The success of the first national equal opportunities plan had been carefully evaluated, and that evaluation, together with inputs, comments and observations from ministries, NGOs, social partners and prominent gender experts, had provided the cornerstones for a new national programme, adopted in 2015, which defined the main gender equality goals for 2020 and the measures to be used to achieve them.
The period under review had seen significant improvements in women’s representation in political decision-making, including the election of the country’s first female Prime Minister. At present, women occupied half of all Cabinet positions and accounted for over a third of all parliamentarians, following the successful implementation of obligatory quotas for electoral lists. Similar levels of representation had been achieved in the 2014 local elections. However, women remained underrepresented on the National Council, among mayors and in leadership positions in business and industry. The number of women in managerial and leadership positions in companies had been consistently low. In 2014, only 5 per cent of Slovene companies had female board chairs. Proposals for the introduction of temporary special measures to achieve a more even gender balance on corporate boards were expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
The fight to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence had been a particular focus of policy development. A comprehensive multisectoral approach affording closer cooperation between stakeholders had helped to ensure more effective implementation of the Act on the Prevention of Family Violence, which was currently under review with a view to further improvements. A new national prevention programme was in the drafting stage and a cross-sectoral coordination group had been established to monitor implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, ratified by Slovenia in early 2015. Capacity-building activities had been organized for the staff of institutions involved in victim assistance and protection, while a major awareness-raising campaign had increased the visibility of domestic violence issues among the public in general. The findings of the first national survey on domestic violence suggested that the various measures were bearing fruit, as victims were more frequently coming forward to seek assistance.
Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and ensuring appropriate support for victims were areas that had also received considerable Government attention. Amendments to the Criminal Code to expressly criminalize stalking and forced marriage had been approved in 2015. The Code had been amended to facilitate the prosecution of such offences, which could now be prosecuted ex officio, i.e. once the authorities became aware of them even if the victim did not file a complaint.
Like many other countries, Slovenia had suffered a severe financial crisis in the period under review, which had necessitated some tough financial decisions. Those decisions had inevitably affected women’s status and advancement, with unemployment edging upwards and the pay gap widening, albeit only slightly. However, both indicators remained strong compared to those of many of the country’s neighbours and the Government was endeavouring to ensure that women were not disproportionately affected.
To that end, it had run a nationwide campaign to get fathers more closely involved in their children’s upbringing, for example, by encouraging wider uptake of paternity and shared parental leave entitlements. Overturning the gender stereotypes that continued to guide women’s study and employment choices and to prevent them from achieving their full potential remained a huge challenge, nonetheless. For that reason, the elimination of such stereotypes had been made a central component of the national equal opportunities plan for the 2015-2020 period. The Government was equally aware of the persistent challenges in other areas, but was committed to addressing and overcoming all remaining obstacles.
Articles 1 to 6
Ms. Schulz said that she had considerable concerns about various aspects of the State party’s substantive and procedural legislative framework. For example, structures and procedures for enforcing rights and bringing complaints were unnecessarily complex; legal aid was not commonly available; very few discrimination cases had been taken to court; the Convention, although directly applicable, had never been invoked in court proceedings; and progress towards enactment of a streamlined gender equality law that combined the provisions of the current two laws — the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and the Act on the Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment — had been very limited. In its opening statement, the State party had referred to a new law on the prohibition of discrimination which would apparently replace the latter act; clarification as to the future legislative framework, including the number of laws in force, was therefore required.
She also wished to know whether the formal procedural provisions of all laws would be revised so that competencies were more clearly delimited and women could access justice more easily if they felt their rights had been violated, especially in cases of multiple and intersectional discrimination. Recalling that, during the 2014 universal periodic review process, the State party had spoken of plans to establish a national human rights institution in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles), she said that she was unclear as to the respective roles of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality and the Human Rights Ombudsman. Did the State party plan to merge the two institutions and, if not, which of the two would be the main body working to guarantee women’s rights? She would also like details of any plans to increase the availability of legal aid and abolish fees for claims in labour courts.
Ms. Nadaraia said that she would like to know how the State party planned to minimize the adverse effects of austerity measures on the implementation of its national equal opportunities plan for 2015-2020. She would particularly appreciate information about the strategies it had adopted to check the widening gender pay gap and promote understanding of the concept and importance of equality in political and public authorities.
Ms. Vuk (Slovenia) said that gender was one of the personal characteristics specifically protected under article 14 of the Constitution of Slovenia, which established the right to equal treatment. The Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men currently in force provided the legal basis for the protection of those personal characteristics. The Act on the Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment, meanwhile, defined the structures and procedures necessary to ensure that protection, including the remit of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality. The Advocate dealt with all forms of discrimination in all sectors, irrespective of the grounds and wherever the responsibility lay, whether with the State, a private entity or an individual. The new law on protection against discrimination would enhance the status of the Advocate’s Office, endowing the Advocate with organizational autonomy, a dedicated staff, special powers to deal with minor offences and instigate legal proceedings and a discrete budget that could be used to fund independent research.
Ms. Gortnar (Slovenia) said that none of the State party’s laws would be repealed in the ongoing review process; they would simply be enhanced and upgraded. The Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men would remain the cornerstone of the protective framework but needed to be amended to reflect the changes in the institutional structure for protection, as did the Act on the Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment. The latter Act would be renamed as a result of the review to reflect the Advocate’s broader remit and enhanced status.
Ms. Salecl (Slovenia) said that it was true that there were only a few recorded cases of gender discrimination. The courts did not keep separate records for proceedings under the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men or the Act on the Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment. Some judgements from the higher courts had in fact been published, but no precise figures were available.
The 2015-2020 National Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men had been adopted the previous week. It addressed eight priority areas by means of a series of two-year action plans, in which individual ministries were required to state what action they intended to take to achieve the objectives.
With regard to labour-market measures in response to the economic crisis, the Active Employment Policy was being applied in an attempt to eliminate the gap between men and women in employment, with a particular emphasis on young women, and to reduce segregation, i.e., to increase women’s representation in male professions and eliminate stereotypes.
A better understanding of gender equality would be achieved by raising awareness, as exemplified by a special training course on the concept of equality that had been run for staff of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, a top-down initiative that should lead to improvements in practice.
Ms. Gortnar (Slovenia) said that court fees in labour disputes were €140 but they could be paid in instalments or indeed waived if the party concerned would otherwise find themselves in financial difficulty.
The Chairperson, speaking as a member of the Committee, asked whether women were entitled to free legal counsel.
Ms. Vuk (Slovenia) said that there was a State system of free legal aid, whereby the court could appoint a lawyer for a woman in receipt of social security benefits or who otherwise lacked means.
Ms. Schulz said that she was still not clear about the number of laws the State party would ultimately have. The delegation had referred to “upgrades” rather than abolition of the acts in question. She would like to know what human and financial resources were available to the Office of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality if it was to deal with all cases of discrimination, not just gender discrimination, and in both the public and the private sectors. By way of comparison, the Human Rights Ombudsman had a staff of 39 and a budget of €2 million. She also wondered to which of those two institutions a woman should address a complaint.
Given that the State party was concerned that women were not coming forward to make complaints, she wondered whether it planned to grant legal standing to NGOs to represent women in court and before other authorities.
As an aid to combating gender stereotyping in the judiciary, she recommended that the State party consult the Committee’s general recommendation No. 33, on women’s access to justice.
According to alternative sources, the State party’s efforts to avoid the disproportionate negative impact on women of the austerity measures had not proved sufficient. Did the State party have any plans to review legislative and financial measures that risked affecting women more severely than men, and how might it avoid such imbalance in the future? Her impression was that the State party had not made systematic use of gender impact assessments before adopting legislation and after implementation, and that the gender perspective was not applied often enough in programmes or plans.
Ms. Vuk (Slovenia) said that two acts were currently in place, the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and the Act on the Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment. The latter covered all acts of discrimination on any grounds. Once amended, the Act would give the Advocate of the Principle of Equality powers of inspection, greater powers in dealing with individual cases — for example to refer them to the competent authorities and impose sanctions if discrimination was proved — and an independent budget and increased staffing to enable it to take preventive measures, conduct awareness-raising campaigns and undertake research.
The Human Rights Ombudsman, by contrast, dealt with all human rights violations committed by the State. It had no powers of inspection and was able only to issue warnings and recommendations, make requests for information and highlight cases. Thus any woman subjected to discrimination should approach the Advocate of the Principle of Equality.
As to the unequal impact of austerity measures, under the 2015-2020 National Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, inequalities were being addressed by measures such as awareness-raising campaigns and legislative amendments. That should lead to improvements in women’s situation, including in the public sector, which was a major employer of women.
Ms. Gortnar (Slovenia) said that, under the amended Act on the Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment, NGOs would have the right to appear in court. Training on gender issues for the judiciary was not systematic, apart from special training regarding domestic violence.
Ms. Nadaraia said that she would appreciate an answer to her question regarding training for politicians and the staff of ministries in gender equality. She would also like to know how the Gender Equality Department coordinated with other units and ministries.
Ms. Gortnar (Slovenia) said that the key actors in the ministries were the equal opportunity coordinators, who also supervised the tasks that were assigned to the ministries. They held regular meetings, ran the courses organized by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and themselves attended courses on policy and gender mainstreaming. Guidelines were currently being prepared to help them with mainstreaming in their ministries. Courses had been run for senior management in ministries and also for ministers, and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission had recently held a session on strengthening equality.
Ms. Hofmeister said that she was impressed by the State party’s success in implementing article 4 of the Convention, on temporary special measures, as State parties often found it difficult to understand the concept. She was similarly impressed by the high level of women’s participation in public and political life. She would, however, appreciate information on the percentages of women judges, police officers and prosecutors at all levels, as well as women military service personnel and prison warders. She would also like to know what training was received by all those groups, notably on the concept of women’s rights as human rights, and what programmes were in place to achieve parity within those groups. How many women worked in the State administration, and how many of them were in senior positions? What programmes were in place to encourage girls to undertake technical studies and move into technical professions?
Ms. Nadaraia, referring to article 5 of the Convention, said that Slovenia had taken significant steps to ensure a more equal division of household responsibilities and responsibility for the care of children. The “Daddy, Get Active!” campaign had increased public awareness of the need to eliminate stereotyping of social roles. She would appreciate information on any new measures that had been taken to promote men’s involvement in work in the home. Stereotypes that restricted women’s access to employment, equal pay and decision-making remained very strong, and she would like to know what measures were planned to eliminate stereotyping in other spheres of society.
Ms. Jahan said that she commended the State party for its commitment to combating human trafficking, and particularly its amendment of the Criminal Code regarding control over victims and the issue of consent to trafficking. Nevertheless the persistence of internal trafficking of women from minority groups, notably Roma women, for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, remained a matter of concern. Did the State party envisage adopting a comprehensive anti-trafficking law with an explicit gender perspective in order to address the specific needs of women victims?
Had a gender analysis of the successive national action plans been carried out? Did the national coordinating body and the interministerial working group on gender equality have the necessary resources? Allegations had been received from alternative sources that incidents of trafficking of Roma women and girls were not properly investigated and that victims were not protected or compensated. She would appreciate further information on the 39 victims of trafficking mentioned in the replies to the list of issues, disaggregated by age, sex and nationality and, if possible, by race and ethnicity.
According to alternative sources, very few cases of trafficking in the past five years had been prosecuted, despite efforts to train investigators and prosecutors. She would like to know how many convictions there had been. What was being done to facilitate and guarantee access to compensation for all victims, regardless of nationality?
Exploitation of prostitution was a criminal offence: did that include pimping? She would appreciate information on convictions for forced prostitution. Did the State party envisage formulating strategies to help women escape prostitution in the form of alternative sources of employment?
Ms. Vuk (Slovenia) said that temporary special measures would be covered under the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. The Act was expected to form the legal basis for the achievement of de facto equality.
Ms. Jeram (Slovenia) said that, based on 2014 figures, 38 per cent of ministry staff were women and 50 per cent in other government bodies. There had been an increase in the number of women in the judiciary, including presidents of courts, and in the diplomatic services. Women accounted for 16 per cent of the armed forces and 28 per cent of commissioned and non-commissioned officers were women; the Minister of Defence was a woman. One quarter of police officers were women.
Ms. Salecl (Slovenia) said that 10 of the 19 State prosecutors in the State Prosecutor’s Office and 32 out of the 39 State attorneys in the State Attorney’s Office were women.
Ms. Vuk (Slovenia) said that there was only one women’s prison, with an all-female staff, and all guards in the men’s prisons were men.
Ms. Javornik (Slovenia) said that women accounted for roughly two thirds of students in arts and sciences and law, around one quarter in urban planning studies, and over half in agricultural, veterinary and medical fields.
Ms. Gortnar (Slovenia) said that programmes to direct girls towards non-typical areas of study or professions included special days to give girl students, including girl primary schoolchildren, an opportunity to experience more male-dominated occupations.
Ms. Salecl (Slovenia) said that the task of eliminating stereotypes was a slow, laborious process. However, a recent survey on the division of household chores had indicated that fathers were taking on more family duties than they had in the past. The Government had recently launched a campaign designed to encourage fathers to participate in household tasks and couples to split the statutory parental leave available to new parents more equitably. Paid paternity leave would be increased from 15 to 20 days, and there were plans to extend it further. The Government had implemented a media campaign to promote gender equality and there were plans to broadcast awareness-raising programmes to combat stereotypes.
Ms. Gortnar (Slovenia) said that her Government would launch a project in 2016 which focused on promoting a more responsible approach among men to sharing household duties and caring for children. The project would be piloted in a city close to the capital, where there was a high concentration of young families who commuted to work in Ljubljana, and would involve a range of stakeholders. It was expected to help such families to strike a better work-family balance.
Ms. Vuk (Slovenia), stressing that eliminating stereotypes was a vital step towards equality, said that the Government had implemented a number of media campaigns and legislative measures in order to challenge them. Fathers currently had available 15 days’ paid paternity leave, which was usually taken within the first month of the birth of child, but could be taken at any time within the first six months. The paid leave was in addition to the nine months of statutory shared paternal leave to which new parents were entitled.
Ms. Boškić (Slovenia) said that the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities had begun gender impact assessments of family mediation and family centre programmes. While the assessments had found that there was still a need to root out stereotypes, the Ministry considered that the co-funding of the programmes would promote gender equality.
Mr. Klančnik (Slovenia) said that the number of cases of human trafficking had fallen since 2013, when it stood at 38 cases, mostly involving women. Some 80 persons suspected of such trafficking had been investigated. In 2014, 3 trafficking cases had been recorded. In 2015, 20 cases had been recorded and 66 persons had been investigated to date. Although prostitution was not criminalized in Slovenia, forced prostitution — or any form of sexual coercion — was a criminal offence.
Human trafficking had always been defined as a criminal offence under Slovene law. In October 2015, a legislative amendment was adopted to make the confiscation of identity documents a criminal offence. Police anti-trafficking efforts were coordinated by an interdepartmental working group of the Ministry of Internal Affairs which worked with other relevant ministries in that area. Its work included international cooperation activities such as training for police and judicial staff. Non-governmental and civil society organizations also played an important role in shaping government anti-trafficking policy.
There had been a case of a Roma girl sold as a bride with which he was personally familiar and he had reported on the matter before the Committee on the Rights of the Child. In that particular case, a high-ranking official had been held liable for the human trafficking offence. All such cases were investigated and appropriate action was taken. Non-governmental organizations, such as Caritas, were involved in the field. He took issue with the assertion made in the shadow report that the police determined who was a victim of human trafficking. Persons who identified themselves as trafficking victims were provided with the necessary protection measures, including protective custody, and support, such as access to health and social services. The police complied with the relevant regulations and procedures in that regard. There were plans to amend the legislation in force in order to ensure that victims received adequate compensation.
Ms. Boškić (Slovenia) said that many Roma child brides came from abroad and had entered into such early marriages on a customary basis with no legal status, particularly as the legal age for marriage in Slovenia was 18. It was difficult to identify cases of early marriage because they were never registered and the victims might have accepted them as part of community tradition. The problem of forced marriage did not merely affect the Roma community but also other migrant communities, such as those from Albania and Bosnia. The average age of the children who entered into early marriage had risen from approximately 13 to 16 years of age. Forced marriage was a criminal offence under the law and carried a prison term. Measures to combat forced marriage included training for teachers on stereotypes and detecting forced marriages and a national programme to eliminate stereotypes. The broad, negative impact of forced marriages ranged from underage pregnancies to children dropping out of school.
Ms. Jahan said she would like to know whether the data collected were available to the general public. Was compensation given to all victims of trafficking, irrespective of their nationality or country of origin? She asked whether the Government supported non-governmental organizations working on the issue of prostitution. She would appreciate information on residence permits for victims who did not cooperate with police investigations and asked whether the Government planned to implement a strategy to support sex workers who wanted to leave the sex trade.
Ms. Nadaraia, speaking on the issue of domestic violence and violence against women, asked what new policies, laws or other measures had been implemented since the State party’s ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. It would be useful to have further information on shelters for victims of violence and any preventive measures that had been implemented to tackle domestic violence.
Mr . Klančnik (Slovenia) said that statistical data was indeed available to the public. Unfortunately, for political reasons, compensation for trafficking victims from outside the European Union was not available under the legislation currently in force. Noting that Slovene legislation on residence permits for trafficking victims went beyond the requirements of European Union Directive 2004/81/EC of 29 April 2004, he said foreign victims were taken care of in Slovenia and they could remain in the country while they recovered their lives. An interministerial group coordinated legislative and preventive measures and the investigation of trafficking offences. In January 2015, an interministerial action plan had been adopted, which envisaged various measures to combat human trafficking, provide services to victims and implement training and information campaigns. Civil society had also been involved in efforts to raise awareness of human trafficking.
Ms. Boškić (Slovenia) said that, 38 programmes on domestic violence had been implemented in 2014, 14 of which had included the creation of shelters for victims. Awareness-raising measures had been introduced, aimed at both the general public and professionals. Domestic violence was a criminal offence, and the Government had increased the level of protection provided to victims of child abuse through the introduction of ex officio prosecution. An awareness-raising campaign on domestic violence had been launched, targeting three generations of women, namely teens, middle-aged adults and elderly women. Moreover, the Government had implemented measures aimed at particularly vulnerable groups, such as women with disabilities, women from the Roma community and immigrant women.
Mr. Klančnik (Slovenia) said that domestic violence was a criminal offence. Recent legislative changes had increased the level of protection provided to girls so that all offences involving violence against a minor could be prosecuted ex officio. Significant progress had also been made in efforts to combat stalking, which had been classified as a criminal offence. The police could issue a temporary restraining order ex officio, which could later be extended by the courts. Multidisciplinary teams provided support and advice to victims. If a victim worked or resided in another European Union member State, the authorities in that State would be informed of any proceedings brought.
Articles 7 to 9
Ms. Nwankwo, in reference to paragraph 46 of the replies to the list of issues, invited the delegation to explain why the Government did not plan to take specific measures to increase the proportion of women in the National Council and in mayoral positions and enquired about the status of efforts to establish a legal framework for the introduction of special measures or gender quotas to increase the representation of women in the management and supervisory boards of private companies. In that connection, she asked what steps were being taken to break down the prejudices that had persistently been expressed by companies seeking to justify the low presence of women.
She asked whether the State party intended to adopt a zero-tolerance policy with regard to hate speech and the harassment of women politicians and other women active in the public sphere. Noting that an analysis commissioned by the Office for Equal Opportunities had found that quotas alone were insufficient to increase the share of women in political decision-making positions at the local level, she said she would welcome details of efforts to rectify the situation, particularly those related to proposed amendments to the National Assembly Elections Act.
Ms. Jahan drew attention to the Committee’s general recommendation No. 32, which pointed out that women were more likely than men to seek to change their nationality to that of their foreign spouse. Women were therefore at greater risk of statelessness if there was a gap in nationality legislation that allowed or required them to renounce their nationality without having acquired or received assurances that they would acquire the nationality of the spouse. She said that, with that in mind, she wished to know whether the State party would consider relaxing naturalization requirements for women who married Slovene men, particularly if there was the potential for statelessness.
Turning to the difficulties faced by persons who had been erased from the register of permanent residents in February 1992, she asked whether the State party would abolish the strict legal requirements for regaining residency and citizenship, simplify the procedure for issuing permanent residence permits to foreign family members, who currently fell under the Aliens Act, and grant compensation to all those affected, regardless of whether they had regained Slovene citizenship.
Ms. Vuk (Slovenia) said that the percentage of women mayors, who were elected directly using a first-past-the-post system, remained low, at 7.5 per cent. The Government was not currently contemplating changes to the election system. Instead, it had launched awareness-raising campaigns, encouraged women to stand for election and organized meetings for women mayors to discuss their experiences and the challenges that they had faced.
Members of the National Council were appointed indirectly by their representative bodies and, unfortunately, the number of women was low. While there had been calls for the abolition of the Council, which would require amendments to the Constitution, the Government did not intend to take action for the time being.
In the private sector, the Managers’ Association of Slovenia had set up a mentorship project to boost women’s representation on management boards and a parliamentary committee had adopted a recommendation to draft a bill establishing quotas for women in decision-making positions. The draft was expected to be completed by the end of 2015. The Government, meanwhile, was endeavouring to combat stereotypes and to inspire women to apply for positions of responsibility.
Ms. Jeram (Slovenia) said that, although there were still relatively few women mayors, the number of women local councillors had increased in recent years. The Government co-funded projects carried out by non-governmental organizations to promote networking among women and to encourage them to become active in politics.
Ms. Vuk (Slovenia) said that foreign women who married Slovene nationals and resided in Slovenia were eligible to obtain citizenship within three years of the marriage. The children of Slovene nationals were granted citizenship automatically and were not, therefore, at risk of statelessness.
Persons who had been erased from the register of permanent residents could claim compensation under a special law that had recently been amended to take into account persons whose status had not yet been regularized. A fast-track procedure for obtaining compensation had been introduced, but individuals could still take their claim to court if they so wished.
Ms. Jahan, while thanking the delegation for its replies, said that she would appreciate further information on the conditions attached to dual nationality and on the steps being taken to ensure that the payment of compensation to persons who had been erased from the register of permanent residents was not contingent on their having regained residency.
Articles 10 to 14
Ms. Zou Xiaoqiao, referring to paragraph 90 of the periodic report, invited the delegation to elaborate on the outcome of measures to reduce gender segregation in secondary and higher vocational education programmes and in curricular and extracurricular activities. She asked what else was being done to encourage men and women to pursue non-traditional studies, what careers advisory services were available at all levels of education and what specific steps were being taken to overcome traditional stereotypes and structural barriers that might discourage girls from entering into traditionally male fields of study.
She said that she wished to know whether the Government was incorporating a gender perspective in its implementation of the Strategy for Roma Education and if and how the Strategy had improved the situation of women and girls. Any data on the school dropout rate of Roma girls would also be appreciated.
Mr. Bruun asked whether the Government had conducted a gender impact assessment of the austerity measures that had been adopted in Slovenia since 2008 and, if so, whether measures in the field of employment had been adjusted. In that regard, he invited the delegation to comment on reports that the State party’s youth employment programme — which subsidized the salaries of workers aged under 30 for two years — failed to take into account the possibility of maternity leave.
He said that he wished to know what was being done to address the high rate of women’s unemployment, the low number of women entrepreneurs and problems with the enforcement of non-discrimination provisions of the State party’s labour market legislation.
The delegation should explain what steps were being taken to follow up on the recommendations put forward by the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia and the Women’s Lobby of Slovenia in the implementation guide to their 2013 report on the gender pay gap. The delegation should also describe measures to eliminate employment discrimination against women with disabilities, Roma women and other vulnerable groups.
Ms. Nadaraia said that she would welcome information on any health-care strategies that had been formulated to lessen the impact of the financial crisis on women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services. It would also be interesting to learn more about action plans to ensure that young persons and vulnerable groups of women had access to such services.
The meeting rose at 1 p.m.