Founding Assembly of Croatian Association of Women in the Legal Profession in 2015
The founding conference of Croatian Association of Women in the Legal Profession, with its headquarters in Zagreb, was held on 18 April 2015. Croatian Association of Women in the Legal Profession points out that "We are especially proud of such a form of associating and initiating a co-action and the speaking out about current topics in the legal profession - from the women's point of view". Its founding was supported by the following guests at the conference:
- the Ombudswoman for Gender equality;
- representatives of the US Embassy in Zagreb;
- representatives of the French Embassy in Zagreb;
- representatives of the Faculty of Law in Zagreb and Rijeka;
- representatives of the Croatian Bar Association;
- representatives of the Croatian Employer's Association;
- representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce; and
- representatives of Croatian courts.
At the founding conference of Croatian Association of Women in the Legal Profession there was also organized a panel discussion about the current topic on the legislative institution of women's quotas as a model for boosting gender equality: incited by the new German law, which prescribes a minimum representation of women at 30% in supervisory boards of German companies, the Association opened a discussion on the positive aspects of this German law in Croatia, but also intends to open and initiate a public discussion on the need for passing a similar law.
- Višnja Ljubičić, Ombudswoman for Gender Equality
- Maja Mandić, Director of the Department for Legal and Regulatory Affairs and Business Compliance at Hrvatski Telekom
- Nataša Novaković, Legal Adviser at the Office of the Head Director of the Croatian Employer's Association
- associate professor dr.sc. Zrinka Erent-Sunko, Faculty of Law in Zagreb
- Tarja Krehić, lawyer, Law Firm Krehić
Višnja Ljubičić, Ombudswoman for Gender Equality, pointed out the following:,
Although there are many women in managing positions with a potential for gaining executive positions, the statistics clearly show the existence of the phenomenon known as the "glass ceiling". Quotas have been recognized as one of the most efficient interim measures which can lead to a balance concerning the representation of men and women in executive structures. Still, she warned that their adoption, if implemented only to fulfil a percentage, could result in indifferent and incompetent women. It is therefore necessary to link the quotas with transparent criteria and to make sure that women and men have the same qualifications and references, but that there are also the same possibilities and accessibility.
Nataša Novaković, legal adviser at the Office of the Head Director of the Croatian Employer's Association, pointed out the following:
Multinational companies put a growing focus on diversity in executive functions in their employment policy. The question of women in these functions is not only a question of gender equality, but also an economic question, since it has become clear that a great potential lies in the female population, which ultimately results in a higher profitability of the companies. Nataša Novaković further mentioned that the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts has already, a few years ago, passed a strategy on women's entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, she pointed out that we do still have the situation that when a female entrepreneur launches a start-up, her own law firm as an example, she will much harder get a loan and even if she gets it - she will get it in a much smaller amount.
Maja Mandić, director of the department for legal and regulatory affairs and business compliance at Hrvatski Telekom, shared her own experience with everyone attending the panel:
In 2010 Deutsche Telekom introduced its corporate policies measures to increase the representation of women within its executive bodies. In 2014 the company worked out and implemented a programme to educate and prepare female managers for the participation in the supervisory boards of the DT group, which was even before the German law for binding women's quotas in supervisory boards of German companies on the stock market became applicable. As part of this programme, she participated in educational modules not only with female colleagues of legal profession, but also with female colleagues from the financial sector, marketing and sales. She pointed out that even in Germany the public discussion on the question of quotas in supervisory boards took a long time, as well as the measures of implementing gender equality. The law was finally passed at the beginning of March this year. In her opinion the implementation of women's quotas is a stimulative measure, but the question about the great differences in salaries between women and men in the same positions is still unanswered, whereas it is notable that women control around 70% of the global consumption.
Zrinka Erent-Sunko, associate professor at the Department for General History of Law and State at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb:
She emphasized that at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb there are more than 50% of women, but that it is hard to break the glass ceiling. Namely, the permanent position of a regular professor is held by three times more men than women and in the history of the Faculty of Law in Zagreb there was only one female Dean. Professor Erent-Sunko hopes that these numbers will soon change. She also pointed out that the implementation of women's quotas is only a temporary solution of achieving gender equality. In her opinion, the education of new generations of female and male students would be a permanent measure.