The fall of Yugoslavia and the liberation of Slovenia in 1991 provided the basis for the recognition of gender equality as an important issue for the country. One of the first steps towards gender mainstreaming in Slovenia had already been taken in 1990, with the establishment of the Parliamentary Commission for Women’s Policy. The commission was responsible for monitoring the position of women in Slovenia and submitting proposals for improvement. At that point it was recognised that the issues of gender equality and gender mainstreaming required their own government body, and in 1992 the Women’s Policy Office was established, which in 2001 was renamed the Office for Equal Opportunities (and later abolished in 2011). With these actions, Slovenia was the first transition country to establish an office for promoting gender equality and gender mainstreaming. Slovenia began implementing gender mainstreaming in 1997 with a pilot project carried out by the Office for Equal Opportunities. Different ministries were involved in the project and the main activities were capacity-building initiatives for all public employees and the inclusion of gender mainstreaming in all policies.
The role of the European Union (EU) in the process of gender mainstreaming cannot be overlooked. EU strategy had an important influence when Slovenia was a candidate for EU accession (1996–2004).
Slovenia has established a number of relevant institutional mechanisms for gender mainstreaming and for addressing gender equality. After early elections in December 2011, the independent government body responsible for gender equality and the advancement of women — the Office for Equal Opportunities (previously the Women’s Policy Office) was abolished and its responsibilities were transferred to the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (MLFSA). The central national institution for promoting gender equality and gender mainstreaming within the MLFSA is the Equal Opportunities Department (Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities). The new structure continues to have an important role in promoting and advancing the application of gender mainstreaming in development and implementation of global policies, and generally in regard to gender equality specific policies and areas of action, their successful co-ordination, monitoring of implementation and evaluation of results concerned. Its mandate authorises the body to influence decision-making, including through submitting proposals of legislative and policy nature to the respective ministries or government. Department is also responsible for the preparation of the National Programme for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, and biannual Periodical Plans and Reports on its Implementation. It is also responsible for other activities, such as capacity-building, monitoring the implementation of legislation, proposing measures, and considering all policymaking initiatives from the perspective of gender, and mainstreaming gender equality, in different policy areas. Coordinators for Equal Opportunities are appointed to all ministries and at local level.
Laws and policies
Policy documents addressing gender-equality topics exist. These documents are the Equal Opportunities of Women and Men Act (2002), which defines gender equality and equal treatment of women and men as a government policy and introduces gender mainstreaming as a strategy for achieving gender equality; the Protection against Discrimination Act (2016), which prohibits inter alia direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of any personal characteristics, including sex, in any sphere of social life.; and the National Programme for Equality between Women and Men for period 2015–2020, setting priorities and measures in the areas of labour market, work-life balance, decision-making, gender-based violence, health, gender stereotypes and international cooperation.
This programme also provides that concrete tasks and activities for the achievement of objectives and implementation of measures shall be determined in biannual periodic plans and reports.
Methods and tools
Different methods for gender mainstreaming exist in Slovenia, such as evaluation, gender planning, monitoring, etc.