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 “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, 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 level. The majority of employees in the cultural sector and cultural administrators are women. Eurostat data on employment in 2014 suggests that cultural employment of females has been 4.3% of total employment, which ranks Latvia in the sixth place in Europe following Luxembourg, Iceland, Estonia, Finland and Sweden.
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. In 2010, a new Committee of Gender Equality was established instead of the Council. Its main functions include coordination of all the stakeholders, such as ministries, NGOs, social partners, municipalities. The Plan for the Promotion of Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men for 2018-2020 (adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers in 2018) aims to implement efficient and well-considered national policy for the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and men.
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