Demographic policies have to be all-encompassing and long-term, women are the pillars of those policies and it is necessary to find a way to balance motherhood and careers, a panel discussion heard on Tuesday.
The panel discussion, focusing on the role of women in demographic revival, was organised for university students and young political activists by the parliamentary committee on gender equality and the B.a.b.e. women's non-governmental organisation.
Women are discriminated against in employment opportunities. Contracts are not extended for 35% of pregnant women, 16% are degraded. Women have to choose between a career and motherhood or rather opt for fewer children, students commented.
They noted that one-fifth of lawmakers were women and that there were only three women ministers. There is not one "women's bench" and women are often competing against each other, it was said.
Students agreed that population policies needed to take account of the wider economic and social context. Demographic policies have to be implemented by all ministries. Young families need assistance to solve housing issues and women need to be offered flexible working hours and kindergarten care for children, it was said.
Mothers with three or more children should be allowed to work 6-hour shifts rather than 8, the students said and added that the government's measure of offering 1,000 euro for each newborn child was a populist and short-term measure.
The students suggested that good demographic practice existed in France and Scandinavian countries that managed to upturn their population rate and harmonise motherhood and employment.
Sanja Sarnavka (B.a.b.e) said that the opinions presented by students would be sent to political parties, underscoring that young people were discriminated against in Croatia and were not consulted on important issues, one of these being demographic revival.