In Lithuania, equal rights and opportunities for women and men are enshrined in the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (1998). The Law forbids any discrimination – direct and indirect – on the grounds of sex, harassment on the grounds of sex, sexual harassment, or an instruction to discriminate against persons directly or indirectly on the grounds of sex. The Law sets out preconditions for gender mainstreaming. All State and municipal institutions and agencies must ensure that equal rights for women and men are ensured in all the legal acts drafted and enacted by them; must draw up and implement programmes and measures aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for women and men and, in the manner prescribed by laws, must support the programmes of public establishments, associations and charitable foundations that assist in implementing equal opportunities for women and men.
In 2015, the Lithuanian Ministry of Social Security and Labour approved the fourth National Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2015–2021 and its Action Plan. The strategic goal of the Programme is the consistent, complex, and systematic promotion of equality between women and men and the elimination of discrimination between women and men in all areas. The objectives of the programme are to promote equal opportunities for women and men in the field of employment and occupation; balance involvement of women and men in decision-making and holding top posts; and to improve the effectiveness of institutional mechanisms for the advancement of gender equality.
All these objectives are relevant in the field of culture. However, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture does not have any specific measures (quota schemas or mainstreaming programmes) for ensuring equal opportunities for women and men in the field of culture.
According to the data of Eurostat, the Lithuanian cultural sector employs more women than men, but women earn 10–12% less than men.
Table 6: Number of employees (in persons) and their average earnings (annual gross, EUR) in art, entertainment and the leisure organisation sector in 2016–2020
|Number of employees (in persons) working in art, entertainment and leisure organisations sector||Females||17 200||17 400||15 700||14 300||13 900|
|Males||7 800||7 500||8 700||7 300||6 600|
|Average earnings of women and men working in art, entertainment and leisure organisations sector||Females||7 228||7 862||8 430||11 935||13 062|
|Males||8 434||8 858||9 913||14 035||14 583|
Women and men are not evenly represented in top positions of national and state cultural organisations. In 2022, women headed 29 of 63 national and state cultural institutions (museums, theatres, libraries, commission, councils etc.). Considering that twice as many women as men work in the cultural sector, this distribution of leadership positions indicates unequal career opportunities for men and women.
Also, women are underrepresented in the pursuit of the National Award for Culture and the Arts. This award is the most prestigious award in Lithuania and artists receive it for their long-term creative contribution to the Lithuanian culture and art. Despite the fact of the greater percentage of women working in arts and culture sector, they are nominated for the award far less often than men. Since 1989, women accounted for only 20% of all creators who received the National Award. In 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2012 and 2013, the national award in the fields of culture and arts were granted to men exceptionally. Only three times, in 2008, 2017 and 2019, more women than men received this award. In 2021, unions and associations of artists and other cultural organisations nominated 30 candidates for the National Prize – 9 women and 21 men. The award was granted to 2 women and 4 men. According to the survey Population participation in culture and satisfaction with cultural services (2020) commissioned by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, women and men are unevenly active in cultural and artistic activities: 41% men and 49% women participated in cultural activities. Significantly fewer men than women use libraries (30% and 47%), are interested in visual arts and architecture (46% and 57%).