Organized by the European Commission, Biljana Borzan, and the FEMM Gender and Gender Equality Committee (Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee of the European Parliament), on May 6th 2017, panel “Women’s Body as a Field of Political Fight in Croatia” was held.

The panel was held in the area of Kino Europa in Zagreb in the context of the Constitutional Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the law regulating the right to abortion (the Act on Health Care Measures to Obtain the Right to Free Decision-Making on Children) and other events related to the current situation of abortion availability.

In front of the European Parliament and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality  Biljana Borzan, Member Irtaxe Garcia Perez, Coordinator of the Committee, Liliana Rodriges, Member and Julie Wark, Member,  were speaking. From the perspectives of feminists, activists and members of various civil society organizations, Josipa Tukara and Paula Zore in front of the Feminist Collective – fAKTIV, Bojana Genov in front of Women’s Network Croatia, Sandra Benčić in front of the Center for Peace Studies and Sanja Cesar in front of CESI – Center for Education, and research. Gorjana Gjurić, pediatrician, Karolina Leaković, president of the SDP Women’s Forum and Ivana Radačić, Ivo Pilar Institute, were also present at the panel.

The audience was moderated by Zrinka Vrabec – Mojzeš, a journalist.

The aim of the panel was to discuss the female body as a field of political struggle, sexual and reproductive rights and health in Croatia. Through their presentations, exhibitors reviewed the shortcomings and the risks of abolishing or diminishing the current prescribed legal rights that regulate the right to access to safe, legal abortion and also important elements that a new law should encompass. Exhibitors offered a cross-section of the field of active advocacy and struggle to retain the right to vote and various actions and demonstrations recently organized, such as the Night March – March 8th, 2017.

The activists from the Women’s Network of Croatia, women’s syndicate group Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia, Independent Trade Unions of Croatia, the Croatian Association of Workers’ Unions and Parents in Action are organizing a protest action on the occasion of Women’s Day on Wednesday, 8 March 2017, named Women against Misery.

With the action they are warning of the difficult socio-economic conditions women of all age are living in, in Croatia.

-where 96% of newly-employed women get fixed term contracts
-where women are exposed to sexual abuse, harassment and blackmail at the workplace
-where an increased number of retired women live below the poverty line
-where women receive lower salaries for equal work
-where an insufficient number of nurseries and kindergartens are provided
-where the state transfers the duty of caring for the most vulnerable groups to women
-where women are deprived of reproductive rights, sexual rights, and rights to free health care
-where women aren’t protected from violence
-where women are exposed to systematic discrimination.

They are looking for social justice. They will not allow a further collapse of human rights. They are demanding that the Government of the Republic of Croatia ceases to violate the constitutional provisions, laws and international documents that it is obliged to implement.

The action starts with a gathering at the Labor Temple at 9am, where a bus with banners will head towards the Ministry of Science and Education, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy and the Ministry of Labor and Pension System. In front of each of the ministries there will be a short speech held and requests will be submitted.

After visiting the ministries, there will be a gathering at the Ban Josip Jelačić Square at noon. Everyone is invited to join in order to warn about the increasing female poverty and the responsibility of the Government of Croatia.

Facebook event: link

The Feminist collective – fAKTIV is inviting all to the action „Night March-March 8th“, which will be held on March 8th, 2017 starting at 6pm in Zagreb.

The full release:

Last year, in a large number, we had marched the way of a centennial struggle of women for their rights and all human rights. We have said that this fight lasts all year-that we will fight against fascism, violence, wars, poverty, capitalistic exploitation and all forms of social injustice. That we will defend the threaten right of women and fight for a system and society in which we have all the material conditions for making decisions about our own lives.

March 8th is a celebration as well as a day to respect this fight and its practices. It is an unwavering act of resistance to all those who wish to oppose the already elected rights.

For a long time we have witnessed the spreading of neoconservative ideology, which is breaking down on the fundamental rights of women, on the LGBT community and all others. We commend these patriarchate promoters, promoters of forced reproduction, self-claimed “life supporters”, who serve us the story of “life” while at the same time empowering fear and spreading hatred:

You don’t stand a chance. Women won’t agree. There is no turning back. Don’t count on us in your big demographic renewal. Although it is sad that we are fighting for something that was already declared almost 40 years ago, it mustn’t discourage us. Often, unfortunately, we do not choose our revolution, but we are obligated to participate in the struggle against the patriarchy and fascism in which we find ourselves. We are obliged to react, defend our rights, and not allow ourselves to be oppressed.

We follow our predecessors-fighters who have struggled for a safe and legal abortion, let us join the ever-present and growing global feminist resistance and shout out loud: No, you will not! This is the time of resistance!  Now is the time of resistance!

Join us at the March 8th Night march! We are gathering at 6pm at the Square of the Victims of Fascism. The march starts at 6.30pm.

One Wednesday, not so long ago, a large number of Croatians dressed up in pink shirts. With this gesture they participated in commemorating the Pink Shirt Day. The Pink Shirt Day is celebrated on the last Wednesday in February, and this year it will be celebrated on the 22nd of February.

But where does the Pink Shirt Day come from? What is being said with the pink shirts? The Pink Shirt Day is a program which was created with the aim of peer violence prevention. The idea for conducting this program appeared because of peer violence in a school in Canada. The boy in Canada came to his first day of school dressed in a pink shirt as a sign of support towards his ill mother. The pink shirt caused violence from his school peers. As a sign of support towards the boy and with the aim of protesting peer violence, the boy’s friends also wore a pink shirt.

In Croatia, Pink Shirt Day has been commemorated four years in a row, and each year the number of participants increases. The idea carrier in Croatia is the Center for Education and Violence Prevention. On their Facebook page they have announced how this year about one million participants commemorated Pink Shirt Day. Pink Shirt Day was also commemorated by  large number of schools which influences the reduction of peer violence.

Encouraged by the attack at the Super Super nightclub, in which a LGBT party was being held, the Civil Society Organization Iskorak launched a campaign called #Iamagainsthatred. The mission of Iskorak is to promote and protect the human rights of the citizens of the Republic of Croatia, in particular the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons, and commitment to their participation in society as equal citizens of the Republic of Croatia.

On the web portal Libela it says that the campaign was launched to “warn of increased hate speech and violence in public spaces and to show everyone that they will not be silent and watch the foundations of the state collapse under the excuse of tradition and patriotism while the ruling parties relativize hate speech and violence against all who are different”.

The campaign can be joined by anyone by leaving an anti-hate and violence message on the wall, sharing posts on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) ad donating to the campaign.

On 14 February 2017, Rijeka joined many Croatian and global cities with a manifestation that was held exactly at noon at the Theatre Square. This manifestation was part of the global campaign One Billion Rising where, through song and dance, women conveyed their message „No to violence against women! “.

This biggest global campaign against violence against women and girls is held every year on the 14th of February, on Valentine’s Day with a clear message that love isn’t violence. The campaign   One Billion Rising has focused on the fight against the exploitation of women, whether it is economical, sexual, social or cultural.

In a brief speech, the organizers warned that as many as 11.4 million women and girls are victims of forced labor and that in more than 90 countries around the world, women do not have the same rights to owning and using the land, and they continue to earn on the average only 60-75% of the wage men earn.  Additionally, they have also warned that over 60 million girls are forced into marriage before the age of 18 and that human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation of women and girls is the fastest growing criminal activity that generates a profit.

Organized by PaRiter and the SOS telephone, in front of the Croatian National Theatre of Ivan Pl.Zajc a choreographed dance was performed on the song Break the Chain, which is the official song of the campaign. The dance was traditionally led by the dance groups Flame and Lost in Wonderland. The dance was joined by members of the associations, volunteers and other citizens.

Additionally, the organizers briefly supported the LGBTIQ community and condemned the Saturday attack in the Super Super club in Zagreb with a message that love is and remains stronger than hatred!

One Billion Rising- a name of a movement against violence against girls and women that has been commemorated for 10 years in more than 200 countries. In Croatia, the Vinkovci Vocational School joined this movement. 200 students stated, with a dance choreography, that they are rising against any form of violence, especially against women and girls.

It is about raising awareness of how much violence there is around us and that they start fighting against violence from the very beginning. If we don’t start teaching them from the onset, they won’t realize how wrong violence is and that it should be stood up to-said Stefanie Jade Horvat, a psychologist from the Vocational School of Vinkovci.

The school has been participating in this project for three years. This kind of participation in a global project against violence is praise-worthy. The event is also symbolic-as it is held on Valentine’s Day-the Day of Love.

Registrations for a cycle of workshops for students that are victims of peer violence is underway. With the beginning in February of 2017, a cycle of workshops for middle school students and high school students will be held at the Tesa Psychological Center. Applications for new groups are currently underway.

The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 15 students per group. The advantage goes to the first applicants, therefore hurry with the applications. Students can be enrolled by their parents or by a professional service from school in agreement with their parents.

Beginning of the next workshop cycle: February 2017 (the exact date will be advertised subsequently). Prior applications of students are mandatory.

The cycle consists of six psychological workshops that will be held on Saturdays with the aim of strengthening the self-image, self-esteem and communication skills, especially assertiveness and non-violent conflict resolution.

The workshops will be held in the area of the Tesa Psychological Center at the Ban Josip Jelačić Square 1/III, Zagreb

Participation is free for all participants.

The workshops will be held by Tanja Dejanović Šagadin and Ana Čović, psychologists and psychotherapists.

The workshops will be done interactively with a series of student-adapted exercises through which students practise their obtained knowledge and acquire new skills.

Applications and additional information via email:

The cycle of workshops is held within the project HAND of SUPPORT (Ruka podrške) to students who suffer from violence- a project for prevention of peer violence, with the financial support from the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth for 2016, and the support of the City Office for Social Protection and Disabled Persons for 2016 is expected.

The Women’s Studies Center is conducting a research with the aim of mapping the representation and type of content related to women/ gender topics in the curriculum at higher educational institutions of some faculties at the University of Zagreb on the sample of several social-humanistic faculties and the Academy of Dramatic Art and the Faculty of Medicine.

We are searching for volunteers who would participate in the research by doing content analysis. Volunteers should be interested in women/gender topics; they should have theoretical knowledge of research implementation and a current student status or have graduated within the previous three years. Prior to the research, selected volunteers are obligated to take part in a 90 minute instruction guided by professionals.

Name of project: Researching representation of women/gender content in the university curriculum (as part of the “Active citizenship-youth education on gender equality project”)

Job type: Implementation of one of the research phases-20 hours of data collection

Organizer: Center for Women’s Studies

Contact person: Andreja Gregorina,

Project location: Dolac 8/I, Zagreb, City of Zagreb

Target group: student population/or persons who have finished university within the last 3 years

Target number of volunteers: 7

Start of volunteering: 7 February 2017

End of volunteering: 3 April 2017

Number of hours: 20

From-until: not specified

Location: City of Zagreb

Necessary knowledge and skills: Student status/finished university within last 3 years, theoretical knowledge of research implementation, interest about women/gender topics

  1. Expected results for the organization and users: Determine the representation of women/gender topics at the level of study programs, at the course level and at the level of teaching units
  2. Expected results for volunteers: Gaining experience in conducting research, introduction to the content analysis method, expanding communication skills and expanding information on women/gender topics.

On January 1st 2017 the “Women in the Labor Market-Gender Impact Assessment” project has ended. The project was run by the B.a.B.e. association in partnership with the Faculty of Political Science of Zagreb University, the VIMIO association from Vukovar, the Legalina association from Gračac and the City of Zagreb.

The project lasted for 24 months, and the general aim was to contribute to the strengthening of the role of Civil Society Organization (CSOs) advocacy activities focused on general transparency, openness and good governance of the Croatan public administration in the field of gender equality, particularly the policies the contribute to creating a positive environment for women in the labor market.

The activities were divided into 5 groups: 1)Research and assessment of the gender impact of all policies affecting women’s access to the labor market, 2) Strengthening capacities for adopting gender-responsive policies, 3) monitoring and advocacy in local communities, 4) knowledge transfer and good practice examples, 5)visibility-media content production

The research of the policy of reconciling family responsibilities and paid work was carried out in Croatia in 2015 and included several research activities: mapping and analysis of the existing legislative framework (30 documents) and collection of official data and statistics; Interviews with local and national stakeholders (Zagreb, Slavonski Brod, Bukovlje, Metković, Varaždin, Gračac, Zadar); a survey of cities and municipalities on activities that they undertake in order to help parents improve the matching of their paid work and family responsibilities; and household research-the perspective of citizens on matching their work and family responsibilities and the support the receive from local self-government units.

Based on the conducted research, a workshop program was developed for strengthening the capacity to monitor and evaluate policies and measures related to gender equality, gender-responsive policies and the position of women in the labor market. During 2016, 28 workshops had been held, which were intended for civil society organizations, trade unions, political parties and county commissions for gender equality. Six workshops were held for strengthening the capacity to introduce assessments of gender influence in public policies, which were intended for representatives of local authorities. They were held in two cycles-at the beginning and at the end of the project in Zagreb, Gračac and Vukovar.

In order to encourage the evaluation and monitoring of policies at a local level and cooperation between carious stakeholders (from civil society organizations and interested citizens to local and regional authorities, institutions and public institutions) informal coalitions were formed, in Zagreb, Gračac and Vukovar, that discussed the situation and problems in the local community and considered possible forms of action to promote gender-responsive policies. The coalitions have conducted 4 analysis of measures/policies (at national and local levels) that concern the position of women in the labor market and/or gender equality. The Analysis of electoral programs of political parties were published in various media.

In December 2016, the publication “Woman, Mother, Worker: Harmonizing family responsibilities and paid work in Croatia” was published containing results of the research conducted as part of the project in 2015 and an overview of the existing policy measures to harmonize family and work obligations in the Republic of Croatia.

The publication was presented at the regional conference held on December 7th in Zagreb attended by exhibitors from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. In addition, the publication was shared at the screenings of the documentary “Despite Everything: 4 Stories about Women” in Zagreb, Gračac and Vukovar. The documentary was filmed in collaboration with the Student Television (Televizija Student) and it brings stories of four women who had fought for their place on the labor market. It was broadcasted on HRT4 and is available online. The TV show, which lasts half an hour, was also made in collaboration with Televizija Student. The guests were Željka Kamenov (FFZG), Nataša Novaković (HUP) and Tina Tešija (BRID). In collaboration with Radio Student, a total of six half-hour shows were recorded, ad in the Global Newspaper there were 10 articles published dealing with the topic of women’s position in the labor market.

The results of the project include conducting a gender impact assessment of policies and laws affecting women’s access to the labor market (R1); the creation of guidelines and indicators for a long-term gender impact assessment (R2); elevating the capacities of CSOs and state/public bodies at a national and local level in order to create gender responsive policies (R3); establishing standards, principles and deliberative mechanisms for improving policies and measures affecting the position of women in the labor market (R4); and the transfer of knowledge and examples of good practices to all relevant and interested stakeholders (R5).

We are grateful to all who have participated in conducting the project or have contributed to the project activities and results in any way.