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Gender-political situation in Lithuania


Legal situation:



Brief description and evaluation

As in other post-Communist countries, the democratisation process in Lithuania did not lead to a fundamental or far-reaching strengthening of the role of women in politics.

The European Union (EU) played, and still plays, a key role in initiating and contributing to gender mainstreaming policies in Lithuania. Gender mainstreaming started to be addressed at the national level when Lithuania was invited to start negotiations to join the EU in 1999. All national documents had to meet EU standards and requirements.


However, data of the World Economic Forum proves reverse trends of gender equality advancement in Lithuania which dropped down from 14th position in 2007 to 28th in 2013. In the developed European Gender Equality Index Lithuania is far below average on gender equality in Europe.

Gender statistics in Lithuania show that men dominate in decision-making positions/ structures.

[Source: European Commission (2014). Exchange of Good practices on gender equality: The role of men in gender equality: Comments Paper – Lithuania p. 3 (in English)]

There are, admittedly, isolated cases of women in high political office, such as Dalia Grybauskaite, the President of Lithuania.

The current political debate revolves around how to combat the global economic and financial crisis at national level. In this regard, the issues of employment and social security take centre stage. Family policy is also increasingly becoming a core political issue. The individual concerns of women take a backseat to the overriding goal of developing the country.

In Lithuania, there is a strict division between “the role” of women and “the role” of men. Society is shaped by culture and perpetuating patriarchy (Catholic), with a few women mavericks in the political and business communities, however. The stereotypes “female” and “male” are deeply entrenched. For example, Lithuanians see motherhood as a major goal.

[Source: United Nations: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (PDF, 10 pages, 72 KB)]

Though research on gender equality has been extended, the main concentration on women’s conditions has prevailed. Many researchers investigating women’s disadvantaged position in labour market, society and culture argue that Lithuania’s society continues to prioritise traditional gender system and maintain traditional gender-role stereotypes such as women’s duties as care-takers and men’s as breadwinners. Developed policies on equal opportunities for women and men have encouraged women’s public roles in employment rather than men’s role in care work.

[Source: European Commission (2014). Exchange of Good practices on gender equality: The role of men in gender equality: Comments Paper – Lithuania p. 4 (in English)]

In post-accession period, Lithuanian policy discourses on gender equality articulate traditional gender roles in family and society as legitimate, acceptable and good for the society. By using European Union concepts on child-care, shared parental responsibilities and possibilities of choice for women in labour market, national policy makers converge the traditional family ideals, heteronormativity and patriarchal power relations to the unique value system of Lithuanian national identity, and through policy discourses strengthen the articulation of dichotomy between spheres of public and public along gender lines.

[Source: European Commission (2014). Exchange of Good practices on gender equality: The role of men in gender equality: Comments Paper – Lithuania, p. 8 (in English)]

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Legal situation

Gender equality law/ Anti-discrimination legislation
The general principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (Article 29). This principle is also stated in other laws of Lithuania. In 1998, the Seimas (parliament) adopted the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. The amendments to the law of 2002 extended the scope of the application of the aforementioned law establishing that equal opportunities for women and men have to be guaranteed and implemented in the field of consumers’ rights. The law contained within other provisions an article on a gender mainstreaming mechanism.

[Source: European Institut for Gender Equality – EIGE (2013). „Gender Equality Index: Country Profiles.” p. 84 (in English)]

Currently the Law on Equal Treatment in most cases repeats the wording of the Directives, without going into details of particular provisions, hence most concepts still require judicial interpretation. Both natural and legal persons are protected from discrimination. Besides the prohibition of direct and indirect discrimination, discrimination by association, harassment, instructions to discriminate and victimisation are also considered illegal. However, some definitions still lack clarity.

For example, the duty to provide reasonable accommodation is embodied only in the Law on Equal Treatment. However, the wording is imprecise and somewhat ‘softer' than that of the Directive. Failure to provide reasonable accommodation cannot be considered as discrimination. According to one court’s interpretation, public statements of officials cannot constitute discrimination and do not fall under the scope of the Law.

In addition, the provision on genuine and determining occupational requirements is provided by the Law on Equal Treatment in a list of exceptions to direct discrimination. The national provision simply repeats the wording of the Directive, and does not elaborate on it. As this exception has never been considered by the courts or the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, it is not clear how it will be used in practice.

The concept of multiple discrimination has not been addressed by the legislation or case-law. There are no legal rules or plans to adopt rules on multiple discrimination.


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Laws on quotas, above all in the political and economic fields
The social-democratic party LSDP is the only party to have a voluntary 30% quota for women.


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Other laws/statutory regulations + government programmes

The government approved three national programmes on equal opportunities for women and men, the first one in 2003–2004, followed by 2005–2009 and 2010–2014.

With the order No. 116-4202, of 29 September 2005 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved a decision on the National Programme for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men 2005–2009. The national programme was implemented in cooperation with NGOs, educational institutions, and social partners as part of the National Lisbon Strategy Implementation Programme. The goal of the programme is to solve issues concerning equal opportunities for women and men consistently and systematically in all areas, such as employment; education and science; policy and decision-making processes; health; environmental protection and cooperation of governmental and non-governmental institutions. The programme aims to introduce gender mainstreaming in all areas of public life. It is prepared considering the results of the previous National Programme for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2003–2004 and the need to perpetuate useful tools and develop new methods to provide consistent and system­atic solutions to the problems related to gender inequality.

In 2010, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania developed the National Programme for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men 2010–2014. It was prepared by taking into consideration the results of the previous National Programme for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2005–2009 and an evaluation of the study Women and Men in Lithuanian Society 2009: a Comprehensive Study and Evaluation of changes in Women’s and Men’s Situations in Various Fields carried out by the Women’s Issues Information Centre. The goals of the programme are to ensure that provisions of law of the Republic of Lithuania on equal opportunities for women and men are implemented consistently and systematically, as well as to enforce the EU and international commitments in the field of gender equality. The programme covers the following areas: employment; education and science; health security; environmental protection; national defence; EU and international cooperation and decision-making processes. It sets out actions promoting women’s labour market participation. In particular, it aims to improve the participation of women and men after parental leave; the situation of women in rural areas; the possibilities for the reconciliation of work and private life; decrease the gender pay gap and integrate gender equality issues into social dialogue and partnership.

On 4 May 2010, to implement the national programme of equal opportunities the Minister of Social Security and Labour launched the Action Plan for the National Programme of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men for 2010–2014. Measures of the programme implementation cover the following areas: employment; education; decision-making processes; measures for implementation of EU and international commitment; national defence; environmental protection; health; women’s and men’s equal opportunities mechanisms and methods of implementa­tion and statistics.

[Source: European Institut for Gender Equality – EIGE (2013). „Gender Equality Index: Country Profiles.” p. 84 (in English)]

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NGOs: Political parties, civil society organisations

Moterų Informacijos Centras (Women's Issues Information Center) (in English)
It was established in April 1996, after the completion of activities by the Secretariat of the Lithuanian Preparatory Committee for the UN Fourth World Conference on Women.

The Centre assists in implementing the Action Plan of Advancement of Women of Lithuania. The WIIC is a registered non-governmental organisation and is supported by the United Nations Development Programme in Lithuania (project No. LIT/96/002).

Goals of the Women`s Issues Information Centre: seek equal rights and opportunities for women and men in Lithuania, improve women’s position in social and private lives, develop gender equality environment.

Main streamlines of WIIC activities:  Gender mainstreaming, Violence against women, Trafficking in women, Gender budgeting initiatives.

Moterų Informacijos Centras
Konarskio 49
LT-03123 Vilnius, Lithuania
Phone/Fax: (+370 5) 2629 003

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Trade unions
Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (LPSK) Women's Centre
The LPSK Women’s Centre is part of the Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (LPSK). It was established on 12th June 2002 with the aim of coordinating the activities of the affiliated women’s organisations. Its goals are to network women, to lobby for the rights of women at work, in society, politics and the family, and to counteract discrimination and sexual abuse. The services offered by this trade union confederation include: training courses, advice and consultation, and information.

Chairperson - Irena Petraitiene
Tel.: 00 370 686 41625
Tel.:/Fax: 00 370 5 2496142

Vice-Chairpersons: Regina Vingriene (Tel. 00 370 640 31959), Daiva Atmanavičienė
(Tel. 00 370 610 15928), Nijolė Latauskienė (Tel. 00 370 616 18251)

Auch die Gewerkschaft Lithuanian Trade Union Solidarumas (LPS) hat eine eigene Frauengruppe.

Kodas 191992610
K.Kalinausko g. 2B, 03107 Vilnius

Lithuanian Labour Federation (LDF) (in English)
The Christian Lithuanian Labour Federation (LDF) also has a Women Committee. Its priorities lie in creating equal opportunities for women and men on the labour market and addressing stereotypes. Specifically, the Women Committee lobbies for, among other things, a work-life balance, qualifications for women and against the discrimination of women in the workplace.

Women Committee of LDF
Chairperson: Daiva Pagiryte
Tel.: +370 5 2780265

Kaunas District Women Crisis Center (in English)
Kaunas District Women Crisis Center is an independent non-governmental organisation which provides social services to women and their family members who find themselves in critical situations, which protects them and helps women to deal with violence.

Kaunas County Women Crisis Centre
A. Juozapavičiaus pr. 77
Tel.:/Fax.: +370 8-37 340027

Social Innovation Fund (in English)
The Social Innovation Fund sees unemployment among women as a core social problem in Lithuania and searches for active actors in this field in order to resolve this problem locally and internationally. One of its main tasks is to install a database with possible solutions to this problem.

Social Innovation Fund
Savanoriu pr. 1
LT - 44255 Kaunas
Tel./Faxs: +370 37 208331

Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights (in English)
Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights (LCHR) is a non-governmental organisation based in Vilnius. LCHR has been working in the field of human rights for two decades. Since the foundation by private persons in 1994, LCHR focused on human rights education, advocacy and research, implementing numerous projects and activities in the field.

Equality and non-discrimination of people are fundamental principles that LCHR use in activities and work philosophy.

Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights
Raugyklos g. 15, 201 kab., 2 aukštas
Vilnius LT-01140, Lietuva

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Government, ministries

The gender equality structure (limiting it to the institutions, which are specifically dealing with gender issues) is the following: the Parliamentary Commission for Fam­ily and Child Affairs that has been functioning since 1996; the Group of Women Parliamentarians, that comprises all women parliamentarians; the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee and the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson (functions since 1999), an independent state institution. One of the advisors to the Prime Minister is the Advisor on Family, Children, Youth, Gender Equality Issues and Relevant NGOs. In 2001, the Minister of Social Security and Labour was entrusted with the coordination of gender equality issues in all spheres, implying that this person has been actually acting as the Minister of Gender Equality. Moreover, all ministries in Lithuania are responsible for the implementation of gender equality issues in the area of their particular competence through preparing and carrying a national programme on equal opportunities, as well as international and local projects.

[Source: European Institut for Gender Equality – EIGE (2013). „Gender Equality Index: Country Profiles.” p. 84 (in English)]

Socialinės apsaugos ir darbo ministerija (Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Division of Women and Men Equality) (in English)

The Ministry of Social Security and Labour, i.e. the Division of Women and Men Equality within the Ministry, is in charge of coordinating the implementation of the policy on equal opportunities for women and men in all policy areas. The Ministry of Social Security and Labour is also responsible of the integration of the gender aspect into the policies in the area of its competence and implementation of gender equality policies in the areas of social security and labour.

The main activities include: drafting legislations and gender mainstreaming into laws prepared by other institutions; implementation of relevant laws and other legal acts aimed at ensuring gender equality; drafting and implementation of gender equality plans, programmes and measures, as well as programmes aimed at combating gender inequality; submitting proposals to other institutions concerning gender mainstreaming and special measures for women and men equality into the programmes prepared by other Ministries; carrying out projects and measures aimed at the promotion of gender mainstreaming, combating stereotypes, arranging trainings for a number of target groups, first of all for gender equality focal points in other ministries, labour market institutions, social partners; carrying out measures aimed at reconciliation of work and family life; reintegration of women in the labour market; and other gender equality issues. The Division of Women and Men Equality serves as the secretariat of the Inter-ministerial Commission on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men.


Socialinės apsaugos ir darbo ministerija/ Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Division of Women and Men Equality
A. Vivulskio str. 11
03610 Vilnius
Code 188603515
Tel.: +370 (8 5) 266 4201
Fax: +370 (8 5) 266 4209

Lietuvos Respublikos Moterų ir Vyrų lygių galimybių Komisija (Inter-ministerial Commission of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men)
Inter-ministerial Commission of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men is an important body within the institutional structure for gender mainstreaming in Lithuania. The main functions of the Commission are: (1) development and implementation of gender equality and gender mainstreaming; (2) to design and monitor the implementation of the National Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and gender equality measures within other national programmes implemented by other Ministries; (3) to develop and submit GM proposals to the Government; (4) to submit GM recommendations. The Committee consists of the representatives of all Ministries and the Statistics Department. There is at least one representative from all the ministries in Lithuania: Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Finances, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Agriculture. The representatives of all ministries in the Inter-ministerial Committee serve as gender focal points in every Ministry and are responsible for gender mainstreaming in the fields of their competences.


Lietuvos Respublikos Moterų ir Vyrų lygių galimybių Komisija/Inter-ministerial Commission of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men
Tel.: +370 52664273

Lygių galimybių kontrolieriaus tarnyba (The Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson) (in Lithuanian)

The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson (OEOO) is an independent state institution established on 25 May 1999 by the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania (Seimas). The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson monitors the implementation of the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men and the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Equal Treatment.


Lygių galimybių kontrolieriaus tarnyba/The Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson
Šeimyniškių 1A
Vilnius 09312
Tel.: +370 5 2612728

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Other gender protagonists
EIGE European Institute for Gender Equality (in English)
EIGE is a European agency which supports the Member States and the European institutions (especially the Commission) in their efforts to promote gender equality, to fight discrimination based on sex and to raise public awareness about gender equality issues.

Its tasks are to collect and analyse comparable data on gender issues, to develop methodological tools, in particular for the integration of the gender equality dimension in all policy areas, to facilitate the exchange of best practices and dialogue among stakeholders, and to raise awareness among EU citizens.

The Institute’s bodies include a Management Board (decision-making body), an Experts’ Forum (consultative body) and a Director (executive body) and her staff. The Management Board adopts the annual and medium-term work programmes as well as the Institute’s budget. The Experts’ Forum supports the Director in ensuring the excellence and independence of the Institute. The Director as the legal representative of the Institute is responsible for its daily management as well as for the implementation of the work programme.

The Institute’s budget for the period 2007-2013 amounts to €52.5 million.

EIGE: European Institute for Gender Equality
Gedimino pr. 16
LT-01103 Vilnius
Tel.: Administration: +370 5 215 7400
Tel.: Operations: +370 5 215 7444

LGPC – Centre for Equality Advancement (in English)

Vilnius-based NGO carrying its work since 2003. For more than 10 years we change stereotypes for you to feel safer. We organize informational campaigns, advocacy, provide training courses and seminars, publish articles, manuals and other publications, carry out research, provide expertise on the themes of gender equality, diversity and human rights.

Center for Equality Advancement
Raugyklos g. 15-209
LT-01140 Vilnius
Tel.: +370 (679) 80607

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The Vilnius University Gender Studies Centre (GSC) (in English)
The Vilnius University Gender Studies Centre (GSC) was established in 1992. It was the first of its kind in the Baltic States. It operates as the basis for interdisciplinary academic women’s and gender research. The Centre plays an equally important role in developing gender policies in Lithuania. The fundamental goal of the GSC is to integrate gender studies into the common curriculum of the University of Lithuania. The Gender Studies Centre is financed by the University of Vilnius as well as local, international and private funding sources.

It also holds an Archive of Women’s Memories. This was founded in 2001. The aim of the Archive is to collect and document biographies of Lithuanian women. A film archive also exists.

The Vilnius University Gender Studies Centre (GSC)
Didlaukio 47
08303 Vilnius
Tel.: + 370 5 219 3028
Fax: + 370 5 219 30 17

Description of the state of source materials

The source materials are average to good. On a positive note, the relevant websites are available in English. Knowledge of English is therefore very advantageous.

Citing of relevant sources
Website links have always been cited directly in context.

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This study was conducted by Tanja Berger und Pamela Dorsch and comissioned by the Gunda Werner Institute of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in 2010. Last updated late 2014/early 2015.


All images, except marked otherwise Public Domain CC0