Although Slovakia made some commitments to gender equality in the early 1990s (e.g. the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action), gender-equality policies were further developed during the European Union (EU) accession negotiations. In 2001, the Concept for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men was adopted and it referred to gender mainstreaming as an approach to tackle gender inequality. During the accession period, the implementation of gender equality was enacted through the transposition of EU gender-equality directives. A few years later, and as a result of the twinning project Strengthening Slovak Administrative Capacities in Gender Mainstreaming, the National Strategy for Gender Equality, covering the period 2007–2013, was adopted and promoted a dual approach combining positive actions and gender mainstreaming. This is the first document in Slovakia providing a definition of gender mainstreaming and envisioning measures tackling structural aspects of gender inequality. In 2010, the National Action Plan for Gender Equality for the Years 2010–2013 was adopted by the government, and aimed at translating the existing strategy into concrete measures.
The main responsibility for gender-equality policies falls under the remit of the Department for Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities within the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family. Set up in 1999, its mandate is to coordinate, design and implement the government’s policy on gender equality and equal opportunities. In fulfilling this role, the department cooperates with other bodies for gender equality, including the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, which is regarded as a specialised national body entrusted to promote equal treatment and combat all forms of discrimination according to the Anti-Discrimination Act No. 365/2004. Two other institutional mechanisms were created – the Governmental Council for Human Rights, National Minorities and Gender Equality and its advisory body, the Committee for Gender Equality. The committee can serve as the sole gender-mainstreaming mechanism, as it comprises representatives from all ministries and other state and public institutions, complemented by gender experts and representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Laws and policies
No specific law on gender equality exists in Slovakia, but the individual provisions of European Commission directives have been incorporated, particularly in the Anti-Discrimination Act 2004. The National Strategy for Gender Equality 2009–2013 was the first policy document in Slovakia to introduce gender mainstreaming. Its action plan transforms the national strategy into concrete measures, including creating monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for gender mainstreaming.
Methods and tools
A number of methods are in use, such as gender analysis, gender impact assessment, gender planning and stakeholder consultation.