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European Union and Western Balkans: What prospect for gender equality?

Markt in Dubrovnik, Kroatien
Teaser Image Caption
Viele Frauen in den westlichen Balkanstaaten wären besser bedient, wenn ein Schwerpunkt auf angemessenes Wohnen, anständige Arbeitsbedingungen, Gesundheitsfürsorge, Kinderbetreuung und Altenpflege gelegt werden würde


The European Union (EU) has developed into an important actor in the field of gender equality.  With regard to this, it is nonetheless important to ask whether the EU is a powerful enough actor to tackle the broader structural and institutional aspects of gender inequalities in different countries and regions.  In this article I provide empirical evidence drawn from two Western Balkan countries, Croatia and FYR Macedonia, in order to explore in more detail the effectiveness of the EU gender strategy: What are the benefits and limitations of EU gender equality policy making in the Western Balkans? While the Croatian and Macedonian EU accession processes have been beneficial for the introduction of new gender legislation and institutional mechanisms for the advancement of gender equality, the EU gender strategy in Croatia and Macedonia has also shown serious limits. Among these—and perhaps the most fundamental—is the strong contrast between stated goals and their actual implementation. Poor implementation is directly related to a lack of awareness among legislators and bureaucrats of the gender equality laws and how to implement them. Beneath a surface of legal guarantees, there are also informal social mechanisms that prevent women from utilising their rights effectively. Among the mechanisms that reduce the effectiveness of given rights in Croatia and Macedonia, political and administrative corruption as well as political bigotry are the most detrimental ones, since both work against core principles of gender equality rights and democracy. I argue that unless profound institutional changes as well as changes in political culture take place in Croatia and Macedonia, the poor compliance with EU gender equality norms and policies will be hard to overcome.

European Union: a powerful gender equality actor?

Despite the wealth of research on the EU and gender, it is still unclear where the EU is heading with its policies on gender, and whether the policies actually help in bringing about more equality between women and men or whether the opposite will be true. An optimistic view of the EU’s commitments and transformative potential in this policy area emphasizes the progressive deepening and widening of EU gender policy during the last few decades.[i] Today, the EU has the tools to be a polity that not only “affirms and shapes but also challenges gender power relations in several areas of its activities”.[ii] According to Sevil Sümer, “a basic evolution took place in EU gender policies from a focus on women’s issues to an acknowledgment of gender relations and the need to transform the traditional gender contract”.[iii] The deepening of EU powers over gender policy in the Treaty of Amsterdam, the relatively broad interpretation of EU employment policy and the recognition of the interconnectedness of the economic with other domains within a gender regime are expected to lead to a situation where policies that affect employment will also affect many other gender relation areas. [iv]

A more skeptical perspective, on the other hand, argues that despite the actions taken at the European level to eliminate discrimination, much remains to be done. Gender inequality across Europe remains elusive. Figures from 2009 show that across Europe, women earn on average 17.4 % less than men.[v] Although women’s participation in the paid labor force is increasing, labor markets continue to be highly segregated, with women clustering in lower paid sectors. Moreover, the increased participation of women in the labor market is largely characterized by a high proportion of part-time work.[vi] This reflects the fact that women remain primarily responsible for child care, care for the elderly, and the disabled. In addition, women are underrepresented in national parliaments and other decision-making bodies. Such inequalities persist despite a deep commitment at the EU level to the achievement of gender equality, as well as a sophisticated framework of anti-discrimination laws adopted across the EU member states. This situation is the result of several reasons, the principal one being that even though gender equality is protected by law, this remains premised on a traditional notion of the gender contract. Emanuela Lombardo, who has analysed the impact of EU gender policy on Spain, argues that EU gender policy is still trapped in the “Wollstonecraft dilemma”, as it generates policies which always have some negative effect on women.[vii] According to Lombardo, the main problem is that policy strategies still focus on tackling the symptoms instead of giving more attention to the causes of gender inequality, such as structural obstacles in the form of a patriarchal system.[viii]

Equally, Ilona Ostner describes the results of the various Directives as a double-edged sword, meaning that the legislation did not abolish discrimination but instead only required “good reasons for discriminatory practices and a minimum-means test”.[ix] Social policies have flourished in the process of European integration only as far as they have fitted regulatory policies of negative integration in contrast to the redistributive ones of positive integration[x] Therefore, ultimately policies which do not focus on the centrality of the gendered division of care work and the need to share family responsibilities end up becoming market-oriented policies that encourage flexible forms of employment.[xi]  The opportunities and limits embedded in EU gender equality policies have also been evaluated at the member state level. Comparative Europeanization research offers explanations for differences in national adaptation to EU legislation and policies.[xii] The effect and meaning of Europeanization differs from country to country as each one is different regarding its traditions, policies and institutions.[xiii] When it comes to gender equality, a review of policy formation and policy outcomes over the past few decades indicates the disjuncture between commitments at the EU level and outcomes at the member state level regarding implementation of EU gender equality guidelines.[xiv] The enlargement process also brought to light the issue of the impact of the EU on gender policy development in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. According to several empirical studies there is a tendency that the CEE countries do not formulate gender policies for the sake of improving gender equality, but rather to gain access to different EU domains. As a consequence, the implementation of adopted EU gender legislation is slow and inconsistent.[xv] In this article I will give more in-depth consideration to both the benefits and limitations of EU gender equality policy making in two Western Balkan countries, Croatia and Macedonia. Croatia and Macedonia belong to a region where the implementation of democracy has faced long-term obstacles much greater than those encountered by those CEE countries which have already become EU members.  By analysing gender equality development in two Western Balkan countries, this study aims to broaden our knowledge about the EU’s possibilities and limitations in tackling gender inequality in potential member states.

European Union and Western Balkans “facade democracies”

Since the 1990s, the EU has been steadily involved in a complex process of the stabilization and progressive integration of the Western Balkans. Today, the term “Western Balkans” is used to refer to the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. All Western Balkan countries are striving for European Union membership, and in 2003 the EU declared that the future of the Balkans is within the European Union.[xvi] The EU's Balkan policy has shifted from an agenda dominated by security issues to an agenda focused on the Western Balkans’ EU accession prospects. However, the countries of the Western Balkans are said to have a different political culture from the other East European countries.[xvii] The countries in this region have serious political and security problems, including the existence of intolerance, pathological nationalism and xenophobia, underdeveloped democratic political culture and lacking the art of compromise.[xviii] Arguably, the Western Balkans represent the most difficult set of prospective accession countries so far encountered by the EU. Most of the newly founded states are weak; the rule of law is not yet established; privatization has been done haphazardly, thus adding to the criminalization of the economy and the whole society; and corruption is still very high.[xix] Economic failure had a devastating effect on standards of living and health across the region, forcing millions of people who had hitherto enjoyed a secure income into outright poverty by the late 1990s. These circumstances make the position of all citizens, especially the more vulnerable ones, very uncertain. Women from Western Balkan countries who are living with these major difficulties also experienced extremely turbulent times during and after the disintegration of Yugoslavia with conflicts and wars lasting an entire decade. With regard to gender equality policy, we can assume that the countries of  the Western Balkans represent a highly unfavourable political context for the EU as a gender equality promoter. It is also essential to add the complex heritage of gender equality policy making during the communist era. It is often claimed that gender equality was one of the major achievements of the Eastern European communist regimes. Constitutional regulations provided women and men with equal rights in political, economic and social life.[xx] The Communist political party equality policies such as relatively high minimum wages, generous maternity leave and child care benefits supported women´s participation in gainful employment.[xxi] However, much of the progress in the area of gender equality under communism remained ambiguous and contradictory. Some scholars claim that the communist experiment was nothing more than an instance of “forced emancipation” and that women’s incorporation into public life was “insincere” because it was motivated by economic interests, rather than by gender equality concerns.[xxii] In spite of the heavily propagandized gender equality in the sphere of paid employment, the reality of the labor market was far from gender-neutral since the state socialist system did not manage to challenge gendered job segregation and wage gaps.[xxiii] In addition, under communism, gender-neutral stipulations in judicial sectors (e.g. family laws) were completely absent. Fathers, for example, were not encouraged to share responsibilities for raising children and there was no official notion of paternity leave.[xxiv] The lack of gender-neutral legislation as well as the lack of public gender approach contributed to the strong legacy of traditionalism in attitudes towards the family and gender roles. Furthermore, some central gender equality and women’s rights issues, such as sexual harassment and domestic violence, were considered “private matters” exempted from state interventions and were completely absent from public debates.

In this article the assessment of the effectiveness of EU policies in the Western Balkans will be analysed through a two-country comparison between Croatia and Macedonia.

Benefits of the EU’s gender equality strategy in the Western Balkans

The research conducted in this article identifies three levels of impact where Croatian and Macedonian EU accession processes have been beneficial for gender equality development in the two countries: 1.The introduction of new gender legislation, 2. The introduction of institutional mechanisms for the advancement of gender equality, 3. Strengthening women’s movements’ legitimacy and policy influence. The issue of gender equality, being a fundamental principle of the European Union, represented an important segment of EU conditionality which required several changes in the Croatian and Macedonian laws relating in particular to labor relations and domestic violence. In Macedonia, we can even notice a positive impact of the EU Gender Task Force of the Stability Pact[xxv] on the Macedonian Electoral Law from 2002 which determines that every third place on the electoral lists for Parliament should be reserved for the less represented sex.[xxvi] Today, 32.5% of Macedonian parliamentarians are women, which is the highest percentage in the CEE region[xxvii], while the representation of women in the Croatian parliament is 23.5% . [xxviii]

As part of the EU membership process, the Croatian and Macedonian governments have also developed and set up national machineries for the advancement of gender equality. In Croatia, the Parliamentary Gender Equality Committee has been operating since 2000, the Gender Equality Ombudsperson since 2003, and the Government Office for Gender Equality since 2004. In Macedonia, the Unit for Gender Equality was set up by the government in 1997 within the frame of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP), with the purpose to influence the advancement of women's positions in conformity with international documents.  Ten Commissions on Gender Equality within the ten Local Municipal Councils in Macedonia were established in 2000. In 2003 the Women’s MP Club was formed, which works for the promotion of gender equality in general and for the harmonization with EU gender equality standards, as well as representing a service for elected women in the Parliament.

There are several signs of a positive impact of the EU on the development of the women’s organisations in both countries. Funding support for women’s organisations and for non-governmental organisations working to achieve gender equality is an important element in the EU strategy to achieve greater gender equality. Women’s organizations from Croatia and Macedonia actively participate in the debate addressing the impact on women of EU accession and, to a certain extent, the future of Europe. For example, Croatian women’s network and Macedonian women’s lobby are members of the European women’s lobby. Women’s transnational advocacy networks in Europe are a source of both exchanges of knowledge and ‘good practice’ as well as moral support that arises from being part of a network.

Limitations of the EU’s gender equality strategy in the Western Balkans

However, the EU gender policy strategy in Croatia and Macedonia has also encountered serious limits, as table 3 illustrates. In spite of the previously mentioned achievements, de facto gender equality is far from being realised. In both countries, the governments give priority to the managing of the economic and political situation, with gender issues being a much lower priority. Laws guaranteeing equal opportunities for women, in line with European standards and norms, have been adopted in both countries. However, the level of implementation of legislative measures is perceived as very low and women in both countries continue to face disparities in terms of jobs, wages and political representation.[xxix] The legal framework regarding gender equality is in place, but on the other hand, gender equality laws and policy frameworks do not have any substantial effect on the daily lives of citizens. In Croatia and Macedonia, as in most European countries, women constitute the majority of the unemployed. Among the employed, they dominate in lower-income professions such as care work, the textile industry, trade services, education, etc. Women are generally paid less than men for the same type of work, and are faced with the “glass ceiling” syndrome.[xxx] For example, a recent labor market assessment conducted in Macedonia by the World Bank indicates that about 83% of the gender gap in remuneration in the country is unexplained, thus pointing to discrimination against female workers.[xxxi] Nearly 90% of employees in the textile industry, which belongs to the less-paid industries, are women. According to data from 2006, there was not a single activity where the average pay of women was higher than that of men.[xxxii]

Besides persisting gender inequalities in Croatian and Macedonian societies, there is also other proof of poor implementation related to the EU gender directives and recommendations. Although both countries have adopted special gender equality legislation, there are still very few legal cases regarding any aspects of gender discrimination. For example, in 2009 The Macedonian Ombudsman office received only one claim based on discrimination on the grounds of sex in 2009 (European Commission 2010). This indicates, among other things, the lack of any citizen awareness about the possibilities of demanding protection and achieving their rights in the sphere of gender equality, work and employment as well as protection from domestic violence. Women NGOs in Croatia claim that many women who are subjected to rape or other forms of sexual violence abandon the idea of pressing charges for fear of social stigma or because they feel that the police, health, and judicial authorities lack experience in dealing with such cases. These NGOs also criticize some courts for passing sentences that are too lenient.[xxxiii] The problem of insufficient institutional capacity of institutions and organisations responsible for the protection and promotion of gender equality should be regarded as one of the key barriers to any serious implementation of the goal of equal pay between men and women. There are no systematic, comprehensive training programs to ensure appropriate practical implementation of the theoretical concepts by the relevant public administration. For example, an analysis of the 120 collective agreements on the Croatian labor market has shown that less than 10% of the analysed agreements include any reference to the principle of equal pay between men and women.[xxxiv] What is more, almost all of those agreements merely copied the equal pay provisions from the Labor Act. Less than 2% of the analysed agreements included certain special gender equality measures, but none was related to the issue of unequal pay. In an interview conducted for the purposes of this country report, officials of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (UATUC) confirmed that the problem of gender inequality is rarely an issue of negotiations in the collective bargaining involving their association’s members. As a general remark, it can be stated that the policy developments in both countries are very contradictory. On the one hand, there is formal acceptance of very advanced policies, legal changes and projects which should have an impact on the laws and institutions. Yet, these activities usually end in action plans, reports and/or conclusions which are not implemented; hence, they do not produce any actual change.

Bridging the poor compliance with EU gender equality norms and policies?

Over the last fifteen years, Croatia and Macedonia have made substantial progress in adopting new legislation and policies aimed at ensuring greater gender equality in different spheres of social life. However, Croatian and Macedonian political leadership still need to demonstrate that they respect the EU’s and women’s organisations’ demands for gender equality and democratic institutions. The implementation of the adopted legislation in Croatia and Macedonia is slow and inconsistent. That is one of the main problems raised in examining the coherence of the EU’s gender equality approaches to the Western Balkans. This is also where ‘gender policy fatigue’ within the EU meets ‘accession fatigue’ in the Balkans. Parallels can be drawn to similar developments in other CEE countries[xxxv] and some of the older member states.[xxxvi]

 The political elites in the region very often use verbal commitments to EU accession as a smokescreen for business as usual. Poor implementation is directly related to lack of awareness of the laws and how to implement them by both duty bearers and rights holders. Poor implementation is also symptomatic of deeply ingrained negative attitudes and gender stereotypes, which cannot be uprooted through legislation alone. The lack of litigation from below, a lack of support by governments, weak equal treatment bodies, shortcomings in the judiciary; these shortcomings lead to the fact that a lot of the transposed legislation has remained ‘dead letters.’ The public neglect of gender issues during the transition period in Croatia and Macedonia may be considered as one of the elements that has represented an aspect of continuity with the previous, communist system. Even back then, gender equality was important in declarative terms, but in practice it was neglected or subordinated to other policy areas considered to be of more imminent political importance.

While poor implementation can primarily be attributed to the lack of good governance in the Western Balkans, the nature of the EU strategy itself is misleading because it does not recognise the distinction between "equality of rights" and "equality of results." The fact that women and men are equal in their rights does not mean that they will achieve the same results. EU gender equality policy is confined within the limits of liberal individualism, doing little to tackle the broader structural aspects of gender inequality in different spheres of social, economic and political life. Specifically, the social dimension of ongoing changes in candidate countries needs to receive greater attention by the EU and the national political actors including the women´s movement. Many women in Western Balkan countries may be better served by an emphasis on adequate housing, decent working conditions, health care, and child- and elderly care. To women whose lives are shaped by differences in class or race, gender-neutral policies may be low priorities if not meaningless symbols. While the EU and other international actors offer general norms and policies in the area of gender equality and provide basic frameworks, gender politics and policies should more frequently be adapted to specific local problems.  The rule of law and openness of elites to potentially underprivileged groups, such as women, are essential to the effectiveness of given gender equality rights. However, the presence of legal guarantees for gender equality does not automatically mean that these rights work in practice. Formal democracies, such as Croatia and Macedonia, are not necessarily equal to effective democracies in which people face no social or legal barriers that prevent them from exerting their rights. Beneath a surface of legal guarantees, there are informal social mechanisms that hinder women in practicing their gender equality rights effectively. Among the mechanisms that reduce the effectiveness of given rights in Croatia and Macedonia, political and administrative corruption as well as political bigotry are the most detrimental features, since both work against core principles of human rights and democracy. Elite corruption, on the one hand, violates the rule of law and effective implementation; political bigotry, on the other hand, undermines the genuine commitment to the principle of equality of rights. Whether democracy is effective or not does not automatically follow from the institutionalization of rights. It depends on the features of a society's political elites and bureaucrats: their sensitivity to people's rights and their openness to underprivileged groups, among which women form the potentially largest one, accounting for at least half of the population in any society. Further institutional changes with regard to both legislation and political culture must take place in Croatia and Macedonia before overcoming the poor compliance with EU gender equality norms and policies will be possible. To achieve de facto equality it is necessary to invest in additional efforts in order to attain equal economic independence and prosperity between men and women, to reach a balance between work and private life, to promote equal representation in the decision-making process, to abolish gender-based violence and trafficking in human beings, and to eliminate gender stereotypes in various social areas.


Article first published:

This Far, but No Further? : Benefits and Limitations of EU Gender Equality Policy Making in the Western Balkans  Andrea Spehar
East European Politics and Societies 2012 26: 362
The online version of this article can be found at:


[i] Fiona Beveridge and Samantha Velluti, eds., Gender and the Open Method of Coordination.  Perspectives on Law, Governance and Equality in the EU (Dartmouth: Ashgate, 2008).

[ii]Annica Kronsell, “Gender, Power and European Integration Theory” Journal of European Public Policy 12:6 (2005) 1022-40, 1022.

[iii] Sevil Sümer, European Gender Regimes and Policies. Comparative Perspectives.  (Fanrham: Ashgate, 2009), 85.

[iv] Walby,  “The European Union and Gender Equality,“.  Three examples of such policy areas, where, by definition, the policy is under Member State competence but where EU concerns with employment policy have eventually led to gender policy innovations, are: 1. policies concerning taxation and the provision of benefits and welfare, 2. issues of fertility and sexuality; contraception, abortion, sexual preference, 3. Fighting  on violence against women through policies for criminal justice and public.

[v] Eurostat,  Reconciliation between work, private and family life in the European Union. (Edition Luxembourg: Eurostat statistical Books, 2010)

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Emanuela Lombardo, ”EU Gender Policy. Trapped in the ’Wollstonecraft Dilemma?” The European Journal of Women’s Studies 10:2  (2003) 159-180.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ilona Ostner, “From Equal Pay to Equal Employability: Four Decades of European Gender Policies,” In Gender Policies in the European Union, ed.  Mariagrazia Rossilli (New York: Peter Lang, 2000), 28.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Sümer, European Gender Regimes and Policies.

[xii] Maria Cowles, James Caporaso and Thomas Risse, eds., Transforming Europe. Europeanization and Domestic Change (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2001).

[xiii] Ulrike  Liebert,  ed., Gendering Europeanization (Brussels: Peter Lang, 2003); Frank Schimmelfennig and Ulrich Sedelmeier, eds.,The Europeanization of Central and Eastern Europe (Ithaka: Cornell University Press, 2005); Gerda Falkner  and  Oliver Treib, “Three worlds of Compliance or Four? The EU 15 compared to New Member States,” Journal of Common Market Studies 46:2 (2008) 293-314 .

[xiv] Mark A. Pollack and Emilie M. Hafner-Burton “Mainstreaming Gender in the European Union,” Journal of European Public Policy  7:1   (2000) 432–56; Liebert,  Gendering Europeanization; Colette Fagan, Damian Grimshaw and Jill Rubery, “The Subordination of the Gender Equality Objective: the National Reform Programmes and ‘Making Work Pay’ policies,” Industrial Relations Journal 37:6  (2006) 571-5.

[xv] Noémi Kakucs and Andrea Petö, "The impact of EU accession on gender equality in Hungary," In Gender politics in the expanding European Union: mobilization, inclusion, exclusion. Silke Roth, ed., (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008); Joanna Regulska and Magda Grabowska, "Will it make a difference? EU enlargement and women's public discourse in Poland", In Gender politics in the expanding European Union: mobilization, inclusion, exclusion. Silke Roth, ed., (New York: Berghahn Books, 2008); Kristen Ghodsee, Stan Lavinia  and Elaine Weiner, "Introduction: Compliance Without Commitment? The EU’s Gender Equality Agenda in the Central and Eastern Europe States,” Women’s Studies International Forum 33:1 (2010) 1-2.

[xvi] Croatia and Macedonia hold the status of candidate countries. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro hold the status of potential candidate countries.

[xvii] Anton Bebler, “The Western Balkans and the International Community,” Avrasya Dosyası 14:1 (2008) 7-22.

[xviii] Geoffrey Pridham, “Securing Fragile Democracies in the Balkans: The European Dimension,” Romanian Journal of European Affairs 8:2 (2008) 56-70.

[xix] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), “Corruption in the Western Balkans: Bribery as Experienced by the Population,” (Vienna: UNDOC, 2011).

[xx] Funk Nanette and Magda Mueller eds., Gender and Politics and Post-Communism. Reflections from Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (New York and London: Routledge, 1993); Gal Susan and Gail Kligman eds., Reproducing Gender: Politics, Publics and Everyday Life After Socialism  (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 2000).

[xxi] Pierella  Paci, Gender in Transition. (Washington D.C: World Bank, 2002).

[xxii] Sarah, Ashwin,  Adopting to Russia’s New Labour Market: Gender and Employment Behaviour (New York: Routledge, 2006).

[xxiii] Elizabets Brainred, Women in Transition: Changes in Gender Wage Differentials in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union,” Industrial and  Labour Relations Review 54:1 (1997) 138-163.

[xxiv] Paci, Gender in Transition.

[xxv] Since its establishment in July 1999, The Gender Task Force has been building bridges within the SEE Region as well as between the EU and the SEE Region. By targeting SEE parliaments, governments, political parties, NGO’s trade unions, the GTF has been able to create a strong institutional basis for eliminating gender inequalities. The objective is improved SEE Women's active citizenship and political participation through empowerment, strategic action and capacity building. (for more information see

[xxvi] A vigorous women’s NGO campaign to introduce quotas in the election law focused on political party leaders and was strengthened by the participation of women within Macedonian political parties. The efforts of the campaign bore fruit when the election law was passed by parliament with very little opposition. The law was approved by Parliament, governed by a conservative majority, on 25 June, 2002.

[xxvii] After the first democratic elections in the beginning of the 1990s there were only 5,8 % of female representatives in the Croatian  Parliament and 4,2 % female representatives in the Macedonian parliament.

[xxviii] The advocacy of affirmative action for the political representation of women has been strongly put forward during the Spring of 1999 by the Ad-hoc women's coalition, a group consisting of 28 different NGO's, political parties and female politicians. This renewed activity was linked to the (then) upcoming parliamentary elections in Croatia. The Ad-hoc coalition was asking for a minimum 40% quota of women on the party tickets for this election and for women to be placed on the lists in such a way that they would in fact enter the parliament if they should be supported. The Women's Ad Hoc Coalition demanded from parties to include women on their candidate lists proportionally and to introduce 40% women's quota into the Election Law (which was not accepted) as a temporary measure of positive discrimination to achieve gender equality in political representation. The Coalition also organised training programs for women of all parties on matters such as speaking in public, running campaigns and lobbying. Some scholars identify women’s organisations and their activities as a primary reason for the dramatic increase in women’s parliamentary representation from 8 % in 1996 to 20% in 2000.

[xxix] Se for example the following national reports on gender equality: CEDAW/C/MKD/Q/1-3, Macedonia;  CEDAW Shadow Report 2005, Macedonia; ;  European Commission 2007, 2008 Macedonia; CEDAW/C/CRO/CC/2-3, Croatia;  European Commission 2006, Croatia.

[xxx] Ivana Barkovic and Mario Vinkovic, “Gender Inequality in the Croatian Labour Market - Legal and  Economic Aspects,” (Osijek: Faculty of Law, 2008); Biljana  Apostolova, ”Gender Wage Gap in Western Balkans Countries,” Paper prepared for presentation at the World Bank International Conference on Poverty and Social Inclusion in the Western Balkans  (Brussels: World Bank, 2010)

[xxxi] Diego F. Angel-Urdinola,  “Can the Introduction of a Minimum Wage in FYR Macedonia Decrease the Gender Wage Gap?” SP Discussion Paper No. 0837. (Washington, D.C: World Bank, 2008).

[xxxii] Ibid.

[xxxiii] B.a.B.e, “Complaints on the Final Draft of the Law on Gender Equality,” (Zagreb: B.a.B.e 2003).

[xxxiv] The analysis was conducted by the Croatian Office of the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality and it was published in April 2010.

[xxxv] Kristen Ghodsee, Stan Lavinia  and Elaine Weiner, "Introduction: Compliance Without Commitment”.

[xxxvi] Emanuela Lombardo, ”EU Gender Policy“; Colette Fagan, Damian Grimshaw and Jill Rubery, “The Subordination of the Gender Equality Objective”.