Bridging the gender pay gap in the Western Balkans?

A country case study of Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia

Policy Study

01/02/2024

The main goal of this policy study is to uncover the causes and circumstances behind recent dynamics related to the gender pay gap in the Western Balkans. Looking at four countries (Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and North Macedonia) in the period from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020) until the end of 2022, this policy study shows that whilst almost all countries have legislative frameworks guaranteeing equal pay (except North Macedonia), the implementation of the underlying legal acts and strategic documents is still lacking in practice.

Moreover, data from all countries under study indicate that women’s position in society has been made more vulnerable in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the health crisis, gender inequalities have widened in all segments of society, and the societal burdens placed on women have increased in both their professional and private lives. The analysis indicates that the decrease in the gender pay gap is an extemporaneous process, which cannot solely be attributed to planned policies or measures.

The policy study concludes by formulating a set of policy recommendations aimed at improving our understanding of the gender pay gap and enhancing its monitoring.

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