From Policies to Practices: Work-Family Balance and Gender Equality in the Balkan Region

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Branko BOSKOVIC, University of Donja Gorica, Montenegro
Balkan region is often perceived as part of Europe which lags behind Western Europe, economically, politically, socially and in other areas too. However, looking into specific areas of life there is significant improvement and the gap behind the rest of Europe is narrowing. One of the areas where both trends can be observed the case are gender relations. Nevertheless, there is a vast amount of factors that may impact this development. It is under-researched area and needs more attention. Due to all of this, the focus will be on four countries: Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Croatia is already the EU member state and the three other countries are candidate states. Therefore, it is important to see how social and institutional practice and policies interact in these countries and what the effects are. Gender policies will be in the focus, most specifically those tackling labour market and family. Practice does not always follow policy and the paper will look in how women are treated beyond just data on employment, maternal leaves, care and policies supporting labour market activity. Reconciling work and family is becoming crucial if we are to sustain personal and family well-being and preparing future European Union citizens in this sense becomes one of the major goals for prospective member states. Accordingly, comparison of Croatian practice with the other three countries will be valuable asset to get the insight on the impact of the EU membership. Missing research of this policy area for Balkan region may result and serious deficiencies that will be difficult to counteract later. Most crucially, it will be presented whether there is gender balance in the mentioned policy areas and how they can be improved.