The AIRE Center and the Centre for education of judges and prosecutors in Montenegro, with support from the UK Government, held a two-day training on “Gender Equality with Special Reference to the UN CEDAW Convention” in Budva, which gathered over 20 judges and prosecutors from all over the country.
The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW), which Montenegro ratified in 2007, is an important tool in affirming gender equality and women’s rights. Since the judiciary plays an important role in the application of the CEDAW Convention, this training provided an opportunity for judges and prosecutors to improve their knowledge and skills on gender equality issues. Participants had the opportunity to hear leading local and regional experts on this topic, including Dr Kosana Beker, program director of the non-governmental organisation FemPlatz, Andrijana Čović, expert on gender equality and prevention of violence against women, Dr Vesna Ratković, professor at the Faculty of Law of the Mediterranean University, Maja Raičević, director of non-governmental organisation Centre for Women’s Rights in Montenegro, Maja Živaljević, judge of the High Misdemeanour Court of Montenegro and Tamara Brnović, judge of the Basic Court in Podgorica.
“The aim of this seminar is to improve awareness and knowledge, as well as to provide an opportunity for an exchange of the experiences between judges and prosecutors when it comes to gender equality and the fight against discrimination against women. The emphasis of our discussion was on the application of the CEDAW Convention, and the Optional Protocol, which is a legal instrument for the implementation of the Convention. In addition, judges and prosecutors had an opportunity to learn about the work of the CEDAW Committee, and the recommendations made by this body, as well as Montenegrin judicial practices concerning cases of discrimination against women”, said Ljiljana Lakić, president of the Steering Committee of the Centre for education of judges and prosecutors in Montenegro.
“Gender inequality is still present in Montenegro, and women face discrimination in various spheres of life. The judiciary has an important role in affirming gender equality and fighting against discrimination, and that is why this training is of great importance,” said Đina Popović, project manager of “Strengthening the rule of law, state institutions and respect for human rights in Montenegro” of AIRE Centre.
Numerous reports show that women in Montenegro face gender-based discrimination and inequality every day, which is present in all spheres of their public and private life. Although positive changes can be noted in recent years, women are still held back by economic inequality. Recent studies show that despite the fact that more women have graduated in recent years than men, women are still more likely to perform lower paying jobs. Women also own less property, are not paid equally for the same jobs as men and more often face discrimination that prevents them from advancing in their careers.
In addition, physical and psychological violence is a significant problem for women in this country.
“Most women are concerned about the issue of violence in Montenegro. More than six in ten think that violence against women is common (62%), including nearly a quarter who think that it is very common (23%). Around a quarter (26%) personally know someone among their family, friends (26%) or in their neighbourhood (24%) who has been subjected to violence”, shows the recent Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) report.