Gender Awareness of Policies in Croatia: Pervasive or Marginal Goal of National Strategies

  • Marjeta Šinko Assistant Professor, Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Ana Petek
Keywords: public policy goals, qualitative content analysis, gender mainstreaming, strategic documents


Gender mainstreaming, understood as the application of gender perspective in the creation of all public policies, is an indispensable approach in solving the problem of gender inequality today. According to this principle, issues of gender and gender relations should be considered in all policy matters, regardless of the policy sector or of the phase in the decision-making process. Based on a qualitative content analysis of Croatian strategic documents, this paper offers a detailed account of gender mainstreaming elements in order to explore the scope of the presence of gender mainstreaming in Croatian public policies. Indirectly this approach examines the extent to which fundamental constitutional values in Croatia are only declaratively determined and whether coherence is achieved in the creation of various Croatian public policies. This paper is a comparison of
four sectors, that is four strategic documents, related to the issues of employment, education, protection from domestic violence, and gender equality. The analysis is focused on public policy goals, which are starting points for design innovation of any sector, and is built around two levels of gender mainstreaming: substantive (sectoral and value-oriented goals) and procedural policies (evaluation, process, and instrument-oriented goals). The findings of the research show devastating results—gender mainstreaming is applied scarcely. A few more matchings of goals that can be associated with substantive rather than procedural gender mainstreaming was detected. However, it is a minimal number of goals that are not supported by procedural aspects. It can therefore be concluded that the offered content of gender mainstreaming is both rudimentary and declarative. The paucity of procedural and technical aspects speaks in favour of the fact that not only has the transformational type of gender mainstreaming not taken root in Croatia, but not even a bureaucratic type of gender mainstreaming is present.