A project aimed at empowering women in the armed forces and peace missions was presented on Tuesday and it was said that women were insufficiently represented in leadership positions in the Croatian Armed Forces.
“Sixteen percent of women are employed in the Croatian Army and about 6% participate in international operations,” Chief-Of-Staff Robert Hranj said at the presentation.
Women’s representation in leadership unsatisfactory
Hranj said the share of women who chose military service was above 20% every year and that they made up 24% of cadets, “but their representation in leadership is still unsatisfactory.”
The project is sponsored by the state secretary at the Interior Ministry, Irena Petrijevcanin Vuksanovic, and financed by the US government with the support of its embassy in Zagreb.
For the first time, the project will provide an insight into the status of women in the armed forces and peace missions. It was one of 11 projects selected this year out of more than 300 submitted from all over the world for US government funding.
Awareness and gender equality are in the Croatian Army’s foundations
“The issue of awareness and gender equality is in the foundations of the Croatian Army, as is zero tolerance to any form of threat, harassment or violence,” said Hranj.
US Ambassador Robert Kohorst said his country had invested over US$ 700 million in various projects supporting the Croatian military.
He said this project underlined that Croatia and the US were full partners which fully shared their priorities, and that it would focus on the status of women in the Croatian military and peace missions, with emphasis on gender equality among soldiers and the fight against gender-based violence.
Petrijevcanin Vuksanovic said she was confident the results of the project would benefit women in the defence and military sectors as well as all of society.
Women’s share in Defence Ministry above 17%
Gender equality ombudsperson Visnja Ljubicic said women made up over 17% of the Defence Ministry and over 13% of active military personnel. About 11% are in leadership positions and 6.5% have participated in peace missions.
In a video message, Defence Minister Mario Banozic said the Croatian government strongly supported women’s inclusion in all segments of society, including defence.
Gender equality and equal rights are among the fundamental principles of the ministry’s work, he said, adding that the ministry could boast of a high respect for gender equality.
The project’s other sponsor, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, also spoke via video, saying it was essential to strive for equality, notably in those sectors where one gender was more represented.