Legislative and policy framework

The Slovakian Constitution sets out equality between human beings regarding dignity and rights, as well as prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sex (Article 12).

Although Slovakia made some commitments to gender equality in the early 1990s (notably under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, BPfA), gender equality policies were developed further during the European Union (EU) accession negotiations. During the accession period, the implementation of gender equality was enacted through the transposition of the EU Equality Directives.

Gender equality in Slovakia is legislated through Act 365/2004, the 'Anti-Discrimination Act' which prohibits discrimination ‘on [the] grounds of sex, religion or belief, race, nationality or ethnic group, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital or family status, colour, language, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, lineage or another status, or to report crime or other anti-social activity.’[1]

The National Strategy for Equality between Women and Men and Equal Opportunities in the Slovak Republic for 2021-2027,[2] focuses on eight strategic areas. Objectives are outlined for each area.

The National Strategy for Equality between Women and Men and Equal Opportunities Strategic areas

  • violence against women
  • reconciliation of family and work life
  • education
  • labour-market and pay inequality
  • political participation of women
  • participatory involvement of different partners in gender equality
  • inclusion of vulnerable groups and groups facing multiple forms of discrimination
  • international development and humanitarianism

The strategy is implemented through an Action Plan for the same period (2021-2027). It sets out tasks in the eight areas outlined in the strategy, together with a clear timeline for each year in terms of tasks to be carried out. Moreover, the plan also lists the bodies responsible for implementation, though there are no indicators or targets included in the plan to facilitate monitoring.[3] A strategy and action plan were previously in place for 2014-2019.


Governmental equality bodies

The Department for Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities (Odbor rovnosti žien a mužov arovnosti príležitosti) is responsible for coordinating Slovakia’s gender equality policy. The Department has been part of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, and the Family since 2012 and is under the direct supervision of the Minister since 2007. It is recognised as the main body responsible for the gender equality agenda at the government level, in compliance with the amendment to the Competence Act No. 575/2001 Coll. The status of the department is established by the Organisational Order of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, which states that the department must fulfil the tasks of the Ministry in developing and coordinating national gender equality and equal opportunities policies.[4]

The main mandate of the department concerns gender equality. However, it is also responsible for monitoring Slovakia’s anti-discrimination policies that cover other grounds of discrimination, such as age, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.

The department is divided into two sections: the gender equality and equal treatment section and the section for horizontal principles of gender equality and equal opportunities in the ESF. The gender equality and equal treatment section is responsible for the development, coordination and evaluation of national gender equality and anti-discrimination policies. It creates government documents on gender equality policy, initiates and reviews legislation related to gender equality, coordinates the development of national gender equality indicators and is responsible for the publication of the annual Gender Equality Report. Its mandate also includes the evaluation of gender equality policy in the labour market, social inclusion, social benefits, and aid, as well as the position of women and men in economic, public, and social life. The horizontal principles section is responsible for the implementation of gender equality as a horizontal priority in EU funds for the period 2014-2020. It plays a role in the coordination, methodological support, information dissemination and training of relevant actors in programming, implementation, and evaluation of horizontal gender equality priorities. It also compiles annual reports on the implementation of the priority. Both sections are active in information and awareness-raising, conducting trainings and EU and international affairs.[5]

The Department of Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities, together with the Committee for Gender Equality of the Slovak Government Council for Human Rights, Gender Equality and National Minorities, reports on the progress made in the field of gender equality and gender mainstreaming initiatives to the government, which approves the annual report on the status of gender equality in Slovakia.

The department has a staff of 13 which, collectively, spends less than a quarter of its time specifically on gender equality. Public consultations are the only mechanism for consultation with the department on areas outside of gender equality policy.

Independent equality body

The Slovak National Centre for Human Rights was established in 1993 by Act No. 308/1993 Coll. Since 2004, it has served as a national independent body under the Equal Treatment Directive of the EU. Its role is governed by the Anti-discrimination Article II of Act No. 365/2004. The Centre monitors, evaluates and issues expert opinions on compliance with the equal treatment principle and the Anti-discrimination Act, provides legal assistance (including legal representation) to victims of discrimination, prepares, and publishes reports and recommendations on issues related to discrimination, and carries out training and awareness-raising activities. The Centre is responsible for assisting the victims of discrimination on all grounds covered by the Anti-discrimination Act: sex, gender, religion or belief, race, nationality or ethnic origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital or family status, skin colour, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property or other status.[6]

Parliamentary body

There is no specific gender equality committee within the Slovak Parliament. However, gender equality is included on the agenda of the Committee for Human Rights and National Minorities (Výbor nr sr pre ľudské práva a národnostné menšiny).[7] Parliamentary Committees are established and governed by the Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (Act No. 350/1996 Coll. as amended).

Consultation with civil society

Civil society is primarily consulted through the Gender Equality Committee, with the Committee being made up of an equal number of representatives from both ministries and non-governmental organisations.[8] The Department of Gender Equality coordinates the committee which is an advisory body of the Governmental Council for Human Rights, Minorities and Gender Equality. The Governmental Council was established in 2011 by an amendment to the Competence Act No. 575/2001 Coll. It serves as an expert, advisory and consultative mechanism of the government. It is headed by the Minister of Justice and is composed of high-level representatives of each ministry and experts in the related areas of the council's responsibilities. The council adopts statements and approves reports on the fulfilment of Slovakia’s international human rights commitments. The Committee for Gender Equality provides the council with recommendations to improve human rights from a gender perspective, as well as recommendations on legislative and policy development.

Methods and tools

Note: the methods and tools listed under this section were the focus of EIGE's 2021 assessment. If certain methods and tools are not mentioned in this section, this does not necessarily mean that they are not used at all by Slovakia.

Gender impact assessment and gender budgeting

In Slovakia, gender impact assessment is widely used as a tool to implement gender mainstreaming, but other tools and methods are very limited. Every legislative and non-legislative policy material undergoes gender impact assessment as part of the rules of the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic. Gender budgeting, on the other hand, is still in its foundational stages. A pilot project was included in the previous action plan but is not mentioned in the current strategy or action plan.

Training and awareness-raising

There have been no efforts to raise awareness of the importance of gender-sensitive language among government staff. Regarding training, the current action plan mentions training concerning labour inspectors in the field of observance of the principle of equal treatment in employment relations, especially in relation to the position of women in the workplace. However, there is no gender equality training regularly conducted with governmental staff.[9]

Gender statistics

The National Statistical Office is the institution responsible for gathering, analysing, and disseminating sex-disaggregated data. It is under a legal obligation, as per Act No 540/2001, Section 14(g), to collect sex-disaggregated data in its statistical surveys. It also sets out the areas and institutions obliged to produce this kind of data.

As a result, several other institutions are also obliged to produce sex-disaggregated data. The data collection and publication systems can vary, depending on the public sector: some ministries have established a public institution, e.g., the National Centre for Health Information. In other cases, specific institutes are established within the ministries, e.g., the Institute of Finance Policies. Arrangements, tasks and functioning also vary depending on the system adopted. Ensuring the quality of the data gathered is similarly the responsibility of each relevant body.

The National Statistical Office produces an annual publication on gender equality called ‘Women and Men in Slovakia’ (previously ‘gender equality’), which includes sex-disaggregated data for several policy areas, such as employment, education, criminality, health, etc.[10] The publication represents the most important collection of sex-disaggregated data in Slovakia. It is distributed in hardcopy to the parliament and public libraries, as well as being made available online.

A section of the National Statistical Office’s website is dedicated to indicators related to equality between women and men. An interactive platform allowing users to visualise the data and download it is also located in this section of the website.

Monitoring progress

Indicators for monitoring progress on institutional mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the EU, under Area H of the Beijing Platform for Action

This section analyses the scores achieved by Slovakia for data collection in 2021 for the four officially agreed-on indicators on institutional mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming to monitor progress on Area H of the Beijing Platform for Action. It also analyses scores under an expanded measurement framework, which includes the role of independent gender equality bodies and assesses the effectiveness of efforts to disseminate statistics disaggregated by sex. Institutional mechanisms refer to national machineries that implement, monitor, evaluate, and mobilise support for policies that promote gender equality and gender mainstreaming. All indicators and sub-indicators are available on the Gender Statistics Database here, including metadata about how the scores are calculated.

For Indicator H1 on the status of commitment to the promotion of gender equality and considering only the governmental commitment in line with the officially adopted indicator, Slovakia scored 6.0 out of possible 12, below the EU overage of 7.2. It was the lowest score received by any Member State. It received a low score for sub-indicator H1e on accountability of the governmental gender equality body, where it lost 3.0 points out of 5 available because the national action plan is not costed or budgeted and did not set specific targets and there is no regular reporting by the governmental body to the parliament.

Under an expanded measurement framework which includes sub-indicator H1f on the mandate and functions of the independent gender equality body, Slovakia lost all 3 points because there was no data reported by Slovakia. This meant the overall score for the expanded H1 indicator remained at 6.0 out of a possible 15, below the EU average of 9.1.

Indicator H2 analyses the personnel resources of the national gender equality bodies. For sub-indicator H2a, regarding the governmental body, Slovakia scored 0.0 points out of a possible 2, which was lower than the EU average of 1.0, because there were 0-5 or more employees work on gender equality in the governmental body. Slovakia also scored 0.0 points for sub-indicator H2b, regarding the independent body, because of missing data. The EU average for this sub-indicator was 0.8. For both sub-indicators, the maximum 2 points was awarded where the number of employees was over 100 as an indication of the body being sufficiently resourced.

Indicator H3 relates to gender mainstreaming. Here, Slovakia scored 5.0 out of a maximum possible 12, which was just below the EU average of 5.1. Slovakia notably scored the maximum of 4 points on sub-indicator H3b on governmental gender mainstreaming structures and consultation processes, because all ministries are included in the interdepartmental coordination structure to coordinate gender mainstreaming, and the governmental body is consulted on the gender impact of new policies and laws in all cases which always leads to relevant adjustments.

Under an expanded measurement framework which includes sub-indicator H3d on consultation of the independent equality body, Slovakia scored 5.0 out of a maximum of 14, which was below than the EU average which increased to 5.4. Under sub-indicator H3d, Slovakia scored no points because of missing data.

For Indicator H4 on the production and dissemination of statistics disaggregated by sex, Slovakia scored 1.5 points, out of 6, which is below the EU average of 3.4. It scored the maximum of 4 points for H4c on the effectiveness of efforts to disseminate statistics disaggregated by sex in part because the national statistical office has a section of its website dedicated to gender statistics, which facilitates dissemination.