Between the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004, San Marino signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and committed to adopt its principles in the national legal system. It passed the Parliamentary Decree n. 108 of 4 July 2005, implementing the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention.
In 2004, with Law no. 26 of 25 February, the Republic established the Commission for Equal Opportunities, which replaced the former Commission in charge of equality for women. The Commission is appointed by the Parliament and is responsible to the Ministry dealing with “Equal Opportunities”, which is the Ministry of Health, Social Security and National Insurance. Among the functions of the Commission for Equal Opportunities are the promotion and safeguard of full equality among citizens, in compliance with Article 4 of the Declaration on the Citizens’ Rights (see also chapter 4.1.1). By virtue of Constitutional Law 61/2005, Amendment of Article 16 of the Declaration on the Citizens‘ Rights and Fundamental Principles of San Marino Constitutional Order, the Commission has the faculty of filing appeals on the constitutionality of rules also in the field of legal equality and equal opportunities. Besides modifying the composition of the Commission by reducing its members from 10 to 8, Law no. 97/2008 has established the Authority for Equal Opportunities. The relevant implementing Delegated Decree, adopted by the government on 6 March 2012, fully implements this Law and guarantees its effective application by offering the operational instruments to perform the tasks entrusted to the Authority. The latter, appointed by the Parliament and composed of 3 members, is first of all responsible for supporting the Institutions in the various initiatives envisaged in the Law, besides the collection of data concerning violence against women and gender violence. Therefore, the Commission has been replaced by the Authority with regard to the competences provided for by the latter law provision. The Commission and the Authority work in synergy, each one in respect of those areas for which it has jurisdiction.
The first Training Course destined for professionals providing juridical, psychological and legal assistance to the victims of violence and for teachers and educators was organised in 2012. The meetings, provided for by Art. 4 of Law n. 97/2008 on “prevention and repression of violence against women and gender violence”, are promoted and organised by the Training Department of the University, upon request and in collaboration with the Authority for Equal Opportunities and with the contribution of the Single Court, Police Forces and the Neuropsychiatric Service of San Marino.
From an institutional and civil perspective, the year 2004 marked the 40th anniversary of women’s right to vote and the 30th anniversary of women’s right to be elected. Equal access to education is the sine qua non condition for San Marino women to increasingly participate in all stages of decision-making processes. Equal access to employment and social security have since long been recognised by San Marino legal system.
Over the last decade, the percentage of female workers has reached a considerable level, also thanks to an ad hoc law aimed at supporting working mothers and the access of women to the labour market through tax relief for women employed in the textile and clothing sectors. In this context, it is worth mentioning the approval of a law supporting young and female entrepreneurship. Article 12 of Law n. 131/2005 promoting, supporting and developing employment and training, specifically regulates the employment or re-employment of women as members of the labour force deserving special protection.
A relatively high number of women now hold middle and middle-high ranking positions both in the public and private sectors. In particular, women are mostly represented in the cultural world. Moreover, there are a considerable percentage of women in the field of the culture industries: more than 50% of the journalists of the State broadcasting corporation “San Marino RTV” are women, including the Chief Editor in charge of news services and the person responsible for the editorial office for Internet, Teletext and Eurovision. A woman holds the position of President of the Commission responsible for supervising radio and television information; the same goes for the Commission for the Preservation of Monuments and Antiques and Art Works (C.C.M.).
The process to achieve women’s legal equality has, however, been long and difficult – and is not fully achieved. Today, there are a very limited number of women in politics and in the Parliament (only 10 out of 60, approximately corresponding to 16%); 1 woman sits in the 9-member Congress of State (Government). The situation is not different on the local level: there are only 4 women out of the 9 mayors and only 23 women out of 75 town councillors.
Qualified Law No.1/2007 dealing with Provisions to enhance citizens’ willingness and for Equal Opportunities in Elections and Electoral Campaigns further supports the access of women to elective offices: indeed, the lists of candidates presented by the political parties cannot include more than 2/3 of candidates of the same gender; furthermore, being a woman represents an advantage if candidates of the same list obtain the same number of votes.
Some nongovernmental organisations have been established to increase female participation in the various sectors of public life, such as: “San Marino Saint Agatha Association: Women, Arts, Professions, Business”; “Futura”, an association for education to politics; “3DS”, a movement for the affirmation of equality for women; “Confronto”, an association supporting civil rights against any sex discrimination, and the group; “Friends of Marisa Bellisario Foundation”, operating in the cultural field. Among these, the oldest and largest, with over 700 women enrolled, is the Female Branch of the Mutual Aid Society (SUMS), which, at its seat, has gathered a small thematic library on the condition of women in various parts of the world.
According to a statistical survey published by the Study Office of the CDLS (Democratic Confederation of San Marino Workers) on 8 March 2006, the female labour force is increasing in the Republic: women make up 41% of the total labour force, 30% of the self-employed, 57% of public administration employees and 38% of private sector workers. However, this increase is not always accompanied by adequate social and cultural policies in support of working women and mothers.
However, San Marino support to women goes beyond its national borders. Indeed, on the occasion of the 33rd UNESCO General Conference, held in Paris in October 2005, San Marino and the other small States of Europe supported a project aimed at promoting the education and self-determination of Nigerian young women. In this regard, the Republic is favourably considering the proposal being developed by a working group composed of UNESCO micro-States to promote women’s autonomy through education and training.
On 19 May 2006, San Marino signed the European Convention against Human Trafficking and ratified it four years later. The San Marino Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe supported the pan-European campaign to combat violence against women, which was launched in Madrid on 27 November 2006. Domestically, San Marino has envisaged a wide ranging series of initiatives and on 29 November 2006 it launched its national campaign.
Among the initiatives of the 2007 San Marino Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and in the framework of the Pan-European Campaign to Prevent and Combat Violence Against Women, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with San Marino Foundation – Cassa di Risparmio della Repubblica di San Marino – SUMS, has called for a public competition for the creation of a figurative artwork on the theme “Art to Combat Violence against Women”. The applicants have been called to interpret the value of peaceful coexistence between men and women and rejection of any form of violence, strongly reaffirming that violence against women is a violation of human rights. The award ceremony was held on 8 March 2008 in the framework of the celebrations for International Women’s Day.