Podgorica, 8 March 2014
A century after women first started the organized struggle for their rights, International Women's Day is still going strong. International Women's Day is a story of ordinary women as makers of history. It symbolizes the age-old struggle of women for participation in society on an equal footing with men. In ancient times, Lysistrata persuaded the women of Greece to withhold intimacy from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for "liberty, equality, fraternity" marched on Versailles to demand women's suffrage.
Women of today still fight discrimination, domestic violence, low pay, segregation and oppression. Therefore, marking of 8th March every year is yet another opportunity for both men and women to reflect on past achievements and to identify future burning priorities in the ongoing struggle on what still needs to be done for achieving gender equality.
Women in Montenegro have made tangible progress on many fronts over the past 100 years. Women gained their voting rights in 1946, and since the World War II until now they have attained equal educational opportunity as men. Also, nowadays women make a significant part of the working population.
However, the progress towards full equality has yet to be made in many areas. Women’s participation in policy-making and decision-taking is not as it is in more advanced democracies, and it lags behind social and economic development. While Montenegro is ranked 52nd in the global human development index, with less than 15% of women in the Parliament it is ranked a lowly 95th at the UN member states scale on women’s participation in the Parliament. Only 16,9% participate in local parliaments while very few have the privilege of being decision makers at executive power levels. Women in Montenegro earn 16% less than men, they possess less than 15 % real estates and only 10% of entrepreneurs are women. The poorest of the poor population are women and children; the most vulnerable within vulnerable groups are women and children, while one in three woman faces violence in family.
Within this context, the United Nations in Montenegro would like to highlight the importance of the International Women’s Day, and once again elevate the voice of women as we all work towards equal treatment as a fundamental human right.
Therefore, the UN System in Montenegro reaffirms our commitment to the issues of women’s empowerment and calls leaders, political, economic and intellectual stakeholders in Montenegro to provide further stronger and more committed support to women’s empowerment by implementation of internationally recognized commitments as well as National Action Plan for Gender Equality. Equality for women is progress for all.