The Republic of Lithuania has shown committment to gender equality, enacting laws protecting women’s rights in the labour market, education and society. However, gender mainstreaming is not prioritised in policy-making at government level, there is a lack of coordination between government sectors and women that have limited access to healthcare. Domestic violence and the trafficking of women, despite being targeted by the 2003 Criminal Code, remains a growing problem; stereotypes that discriminate women still prevail.
Equal opportunities and equal treatment is enshrined in the 1922 Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (art. 29).In 1998 the Seimas (Parliament) adopted theLaw on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. The Law prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination against men and women, and ensures a legal obligation for state and private institutions to implement gender equality principles in employment, education, and science. Since 2002 this Law regulates also equality between women and men in access to and supply of goods and services. In addition to a prohibition giving priority to one of the sexes in employment and education advertisements employers were obliged not to ask job seekers about their age, marital status, private life and family plans. European Union directives on gender equality have also been implemented in laws regulating labour and social insurance.
Domestic Violence and Trafficking of Women
Lithuanian authorities have introduced measures to attempt resolving the problems of Violence against women, Trafficking and Prostitution . National programmes for the prevention of trafficking in persons have included legal, social and financial measures for victims of trafficking to reintegrate into society. However, poor financial resources allocated to resolve many problems of victims and help their successful reintegration have posed significant obstacles.
Research shows that one third of Lithuanian women suffered from domestic violence in their life-course and that the violators are most frequently their husbands or partners.
There has been significant progress for gender equality over the past two decades in education. 58.6% of university students and 70% of high school graduates are female. However, top positions are still difficult to achieve and progress is slow. At tertiary level, only 30% of Doctoral students are women; and only 9% of professors are women. The rector of the Vilnius University, the oldest and largest Lithuanian higher education institution, issued a decree in April 1997, which provided temporary measures to ensure that women hold 40- to 50% of the top positions within the Vilnius University.
- D. Symbaliuk, ‘Lithuanian women in the education system’, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Volume 21, Numbers 1-2, 2001 , pp. 68-71(4)