Implementation of central concepts

AuthorVesna Simovic-Zvicer
3 Implementation of central concepts
3.1 General (legal) context
3.1.1 Surveys on the definition, implementation and limit s of central concepts of gender
equality law
In Montenegro, several reports have been published in recent years, covering issues of
discrimination, including gender equality. Of special significance is the NGO Report on the
implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence
against women an d domestic viol ence in Mont enegro, which was produced with financial
assistance from the European Union through the project Ending Violence against Women
in the Western Balkans and Turkey: Implementing Norms, Changing Minds, implemented
by UN Women and UNDP Mont enegro. This rep ort states that Montenegro does not have
any court case law on gender discrimination and that the number of complaints concerning
gender discrimination submitted to the Protector of Human Rights remains extremely low.
It implies that there is a lack of awareness of gender equality, lack of pub lic information
about protection mechanisms as well as a low level of confidence among citizens in the
work of the institution responsible for protection.30
The Gender Equality Index, developed by the European Insti tute for Gender Equality
(EIGE) and used to measure inequalities in all EU member states and pre-accession
countries, was calculated for the first time in Montenegro in 2019. The above-mentioned
report calls for stronger leadership for institutional transformation, coupled with adequate
financial resources, in order to bridge the gap between men and women. Based on EIGE’s
methodology, th e index was measured by the National Statistical Office of Montenegro.
The report was produced within the EU-funded project Support to Anti-discrimination and
Gender Equality Policies implemented by UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Human
and Minority Rights. With an index value of 55 (out of a maximum of 100 points),
Montenegro scored lower than the EU average of 67.4. At the top of the ladder are Sweden,
Denmark, France, Finland and the UK, while four E U member states scored lower than
Montenegro Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Greece. At the national level, women in
Montenegro are least equal when it comes to power, followed sequentially by time,
knowledge, money and work. Highest equality was observed in the domain of health.
The greatest differences between the EU countries and Montenegro w ere recorded in th e
domains of money and power.31
According to the Government action plan, the statistics show that
there is a gap between the normative and the actual status women in Monteneg ro:
Out of total 620 029 inhabitants, 313 793 are women (50.61 %) and 306 236
(49.39 %) are men;
The a verage earnings of women in Montenegro are 14 % lower than the average
earnings of men, which means that - in order to receive the same salary annually as
men - women should work m ore than 51 days than men, and the year would have
to last 416 days;
Pension bene ficiaries a re made up of 46 509 men and 28 561 women. This is not
related to the same age categories, because the Law on Pension Insurance provides
for different retirement ages for men and women;
Among property owners, women make up 4 % of homeowners, 8 % of landowner s
and 14 % of holiday home owners;
30 Women’s Rights Centre (2017) NGO Report on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on
preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in Montenegro, Podgorica, p. 18.
31 Olivera Komar, Gender Equality Index, Montenegro, 2019.
Only 9.6 % of the owners of business entities in Montenegro are women.32
3.1.2 Other issues
A positive step is the Ministry of Defence’s adoption of the Human Resources Management
Strategy of the Ministry of Defence and the Army of Montenegro, which defines the gender
equality policy and certain strategic goals.
The Ministry of Defence has a total of six regional trainers for gender equality in military
operations, who are responsible for the education of all members of the army on UNSC
Resolution 1325 on gender equality. Through a special programme, Mentoring for Gender
Equality the senior officer of the Army General Staff (who has determined the duty to
realise tasks in the area of g ender equality), undertook one year of training. The t raining
involved new knowledge on how to integrat e the gender perspective into policy making
and everyday work in the army.
3.1.3 General overview of national acts
At the national level, Montenegro has several regulations concerning the gender-neutral
protection of human rights in the context of violence. The Law on Gender Equality (LGE)33
defines gender-based violence as any act that causes or could cause physical, mental,
sexual or economic harm or suff ering, as well as threat of such act that seriously impede
a person’ s abilit y to enjoy his or h er rights and freedoms in both public or private life,
including domestic violence, incest, rape and human t rafficking.
The LGE was adopted and entered into force in July 2007. It stipulates equality between
women and men in all areas of public and private life, as well as an equ al opportunities
policy. In 2015, the law was amended by the Law on Am endments to the Law on Gender
Equality, which extended the scope of the sanctions concerning discrimination based on
sex an d violation of the principle of the equal treatment of men and women in certain
spheres of life, including discrimination against women due to pregnancy. 34
The law has now been harmonised with the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination and
the Law on the Prote ctor of Human Rights and Freedoms (the Protector) 35 the
Montenegrin Ombudsman as well as the EU acquis. The definitions of discrimination
based on se x have been harmonised, such that the definitions of direct and indirect
discrimination are now in line with EU standards.
The implementation of the law is still a challenge in practice, mainly because of the
Montenegrin traditional patriarchal society and mentality, a need for improved knowledge
of gender equality principles and a lack of trust in institutions, particularly the courts. The
problem of underreporting of gender inequality cases is a topical is sue.
The amendment to the Law on Gender Equality in 2015, defined the responsibilities of the
Protector in dealing with complaints of a breach of the principle of gender equality and the
32 Government of Montenegro Ministry of Defence (2017), Action Plan for implementation of United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1325 Women, Peace and Security in Montenegro (2017-2018), p. 6. available
33 Montenegro, Law on Gender Equality, Official Gazette No. 46/2007; Official Gazette No. 073/10, 040/11,
34 Montenegro, Law on Amendments to the Law on Gender Equality, adopted by Parliament on 26 June 2015.
35 Montenegro, Law on the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro, Official Gazette, No.
42/11 and 34/12, Article 2: ‘The Protector shall autonomously and independently, on the principles of
justice and fairness, take measures to protect human rights and freedoms, when they are violated by an
act, action or failure to act of state bodies, state administration bodies, bodies of local self-administration
and local administration, public services and other holders of public powers (hereinafter referred to as:
authorities) as well as measures to prevent torture and other forms of inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment and measures for protection from discrimination. The Protector does not have authority over
the work of courts, except in cases determined by this Law.

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