4.2.10 Gender equality and cultural policies
The topic of gender equality is not a major topic for political discussion. In line with international and European legal documents, gender equality is guaranteed in the legislation of Latvia in all spheres of life. Most important of these legal norms is Article 91 of the Constitution stating that "All human beings in Latvia shall be equal before the law and the courts. Human rights shall be realised without discrimination of any kind." The most important sectorial laws containing new norms promoting gender equality came into force in 2002, namely, the Labour Law.
More specifically, norms of equal pay, equal access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions, parental leave, burden of proof in cases of discrimination based on sex, protection of pregnant workers, protection against harassment and sexual harassment, and non-discrimination based on gender are part of these documents. In line with general political and legislative processes in the European Union, an increasing number of national laws are amended to include clauses of equal treatment due to gender. Likewise laws to regulate provision of goods and services and insurance provided by private insurance companies are amended in order to prevent gender based discrimination.
Women are very actively involved in cultural processes both on national and local levels. Majority of the employees in the cultural sector are women: the majority of cultural administrators in Latvia are women; for example, civil servants of the Ministry of Culture are mainly female (82% of employees at the Ministry of Culture in 2011 were women), as are most theatre and art critics and curators in Latvia. The Eurostat study on Cultural Statistics (2011) suggests that Latvia in 2009 had the highest rate of women employed in the cultural sector of all European countries.
The Ministry of Welfare is the responsible institution for the development of gender equality policy in the government. The Council of Gender Equality (under the direction of the Welfare Minister) was established in 2002 to encourage, protect, and resolve problems of gender inequality at the governmental level. There are several policy documents in the field: the Programme for Gender Equality Rights 2012-2014 (adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers in 2012) sets out objectives and an action plan in the gender equality field; the Policy for Implementation of Gender Equality proposes strategies in the field (see more on the website of the Ministry of Welfare).
Chapitre publié: 08-10-2014