Gender equality constitutes a fundamental human right and basic aim of every modern democracy. Our vision is of a society in which men and women equally share goods, obligations and rights - in work, politics, power, leisure time, care, family and personal life. A society in which men and women decide what they are going to study, which types of work they are going to undertake, how many children they will have, whether they will participate in public affairs – all without the burden of gender stereotypes that proscribe professions, salaries, tasks and earnings, and also the minutiae of daily life.

Due to the severe current global and national economic crisis, the inequality between men and women’s living and working conditions is growing. I believe that during crisis periods, the principle of gender equality is not a luxury. Rather, it is a core component of economic, social and cultural policies enacted to emerge from the crisis.

Crises always more strongly affect weaker population groups, in which women constitute the majority. When gender-based discrimination is interwoven with and aggravated by other types of social discrimination (class, ethnic origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, remote residency, etc), large categories of women face multifaceted discrimination. Women that are unemployed, immigrants, young, single parents, disabled, of ethnic and religious minorities, Roma, living on islands or in mountainous areas – these are all groups of women more vulnerable not only to the effects of economic crisis, but also to male violence in all its forms. I consider it absolutely essential that public interventions give these groups of women top priority.

Taking into account on the one hand the government’s approach vis-à-vis the provision of services to all the country’s citizens - men and women alike – and on the other hand the conclusions drawn by feminist analyses of public policies, we have drafted this National Programme for Substantive Gender Equality 2010-2013.