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Lithuanian initiatives on promoting gender equality and democracy in cooperation with NGOs Aušrinė Burneikienė Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson
Role of NGOs Important generators of innovative ideas/ state policies/ projects Big lobby potential Facilitators of public discussions on different aspects of gender equality Main implementers of initiatives Catalysts of change as they are their activities essence of civil society developments Activators of women’s activity
2007 – European Year for Equal Opportunities The NGOs are being consulted on the initiatives to be implemented during the Year The representatives of NGOs constitute a consultative committee of the Year The NGOs would receive possibility to take part in the call for proposals to be implemented during the Year.
National Programme of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men NGOs are important partners for the implementation of the measures foreseen in the Programme
Cooperation with NGOs of the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson: Several practices Modern Men in Enlarged Europe: Developing Innovative Gender Equality Strategies Modern Men in Enlarged Europe II: Family-Friendly Policies Raising awareness of lawyers Changing gender stereotypes
“Modern Men in Enlarged Europe: Developing Innovative Gender Equality Strategies” Objectives: To foster sustainable change in gender identities and stereotypes To encourage men to take up new gender roles and overcome hegemonic masculinity To develop images of men as care-givers Partners: NGOs in Lithuania Iceland, Denmark, Malta
Research: Fathers on paternity leave For most fathers, paternity leave did not present any threat to their masculinity A change in male identities is felt: men devote more attention to their role as care-givers despite often negative reactions from their environment Being a father as a pleasurable thing Tensions between family and professional life remain
Research II: decision makers Issues of gender equality on political level are usually connected to participation of both genders in public life, disregarding the private sphere The issues of paternity in the programs of ruling parties are discussed in the context of family security and social welfare (gender discourse is lacking) Representatives of Ministries were much more skeptical about the opportunity to individualize parents’ rights to parental leave Almost half of the MPs agree that the legalized participation of men in child care could help to achieve real gender equality in Lithuania Quite traditional in their gender attitudes, but women‘s primary role in child care is no longer taken for granted There is new spaces for social change
Public campaign in Lithuania: Father’s Day
Public campaign in Lithuania: Posters in public spaces
Public campaign in Lithuania: www.dadcomehome.org www.dadcomehome.org
Results A lot of information in the mass media Start of a discourse on men as care-givers Changing male identities – more of them take the paternity leave New law: ensuring bigger benefit for mothers and fathers on parental leave father’s got the right for 100 % paid leave until their child is 1 month old
Modern Men in Enlarged Europe II: Family Friendly Policies Objectives: To promote family friendly work environment To build better knowledge on how employee, employer and the whole society benefits from work and family reconciliation policies To encourage employers to implement family friendly arrangements at work for both genders To foster public debate on reconciliation of work and private life by making this a male issue as well Partners: Lithuanian NGOs, Iceland, Denmark, Italy
Research: A qualitative research and sociological survey were conducted in Lithuania in 2006: Exploring the possibilities of fathers to reconcile their family and working life Indicating the main obstacles Exploring employer’s attitudes towards work-life balance Exploring attitudes of society towards male and female roles
Main outcomes: interviewed men The interviewed men and women experience conflict between their work and family responsibilities – stress, being tired and exhausted – although they usually do not recognise it Working too long/ unflexible hours is especially problematic for men Although priority was given to family, the breadwinner’s role was most important for men For men, work and career are the most important means of their self- realization and self-fulfilment Interviewed men usually attempted to adapt their family responsibilities to their work, and women, on the contrary, changed their work requirements to fit their family needs.
More women (69.8 %) than men (30.2 %) experience a work-family conflict
Women receive only supplementary help from their husbands in their domestic affairs. Who prepares food? – more than 70 % women Who repairs home appliances? – 85 % men For most of the families the egalitarian family model was more a declared ideal than an accomplished reality
Employer’s attitudes Family-friendly policies were usually negotiated on interpersonal level and that much depended on the employers’ goodwill The men did not feel as secure about the employers’ view of men taking an extended paternity leave. Small companies were more family friendly than large ones
Cooperation with Lithuanian Human Rights Office 20 lawyers explicitly trained on discrimination issues Awareness raising campaign in 2007, including training of lawyers
Cooperation with the help of Structural funds Project “Implementing the principle of equal opportunities” Surveys Seminars TV programme Posters in public
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