President Invites Women to Discuss Women’s Pandemic-related Issues

President Invites Women to Discuss Women’s Pandemic-related Issues

On March 8, 2021, International Women’s Day, President Zuzana Čaputová organized a round table to discuss the impacts of the pandemic on the lives of women. 

The participants included MEPs Monika Beňová and Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, members of the National Council of the Slovak Republic Jana Bittó Cigániková, Petra Krištúfková, Jarmila Vaňová and Jana Žitňanská, as well as Zuzana Havírová from the Roma Advocacy and Research Center, Katarína Farkašová from the Alliance of Women in Slovakia, Mária Kováčová from the Association of Social Service Professionals, Iveta Lazorová from the Chamber of Nurses and Midwives and Eva Mareková from the Single Parent Civic Association.
 
In her first purely women’s meeting, the president stated, "I have invited women working in the Slovak and European Parliaments and for non-profit organizations focusing on social and healthcare topics and the position of women in our society to sit down together and exchange ideas. The pandemic has had a harsh impact on everybody, but for women, who comprise more than 80 percent of the front line workers, it is considerably more dire. Single mothers, many who have fled from violent relationships, find themselves in a desperate situation.  Unemployment among women is higher than unemployment among men in this pandemic. And because of school closings, the responsibility for the education of children has fallen mainly on the shoulders of women, whose earnings have decreased and whose expenses related to home schooling have increased."

Specific improvements in the position of women in Slovakia and efforts to minimize the negative social and economic impacts of this pandemic were discussed. President Čaputová noted that "The proposal to increase the SOS benefit for those at greatest risk of poverty would help. Not conditioning the provision of assistance on the absence of debts to the state and considering the introduction of special child allowance in the times of this covid crisis would also help. The pandemic nursing benefit must be increased to 100 percent of the individual’s net salary and the activation allowance must be maintained in full, even during the pandemic constraints. We must raise salaries and strive to make healthcare and social service occupations more attractive. We also must ensure sufficient space and services for women experiencing domestic violence while supporting the prevention of violence."

President Čaputová thanked the participants for their personal commitment and for contributing to the positive and constructive atmosphere of the meeting. She also expressed her wish to see parliamentary discussions on the position of women take place amidst such an atmosphere. In parting, she wished them all a life full of respect, equality and dignity.