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BRIEF May 13, 2021

Equal Opportunities for All: Supporting Croatia’s Gender Equality Agenda


© World Bank

Achieving gender equality is essential for sustained growth and prosperity. A 2018 World Bank study, which examines the economic cost of gender inequality in lost human capital, found that countries lose $160 trillion in wealth because of differences in lifetime earnings between women and men.

As Croatia embarks on recovery from multiple shocks induced by the pandemic and several earthquakes, it will be critical that women actively contribute to this recovery. As such, the World Bank is working closely with the public and private sectors, and civil society organizations in Croatia, to make this change happen.

In Croatia, the World Bank has been continuously undertaking in-depth analytical work examining the overall state of gender equality, as well as specific topics such as women’s labor force participation or the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of women. The Bank has also been providing policy recommendations that address these issues, raising awareness about the persistent gender gaps Croatia still faces, convening key stakeholders and helping find practical solutions for effective public policies.

The Bank's work on gender issues in Croatia include:


Effects of COVID-19 on Croatian Women - This report provides a preliminary assessment of the impact on women caused by the pandemic. It finds that the pandemic has worsened existing gender gaps and made life harder for women in Croatia. This is especially the case for women form vulnerable social groups, including lower-skilled, rural women, inactive women and elderly women.

Interview - Gender (In)Equality: The Pandemic has Impacted Women in Croatia on More Levels than Men Interview with Valerie Morrica, Senior Social Development Specialist, and Nga Thi Viet Nguyen, Senior Economist, whose research found that women are more likely to have lost jobs or income, and that they are less likely to be covered by social protection or COVID-19 emergency measures. Women also shoulder the lion's share of unpaid family work, which creates a real barrier to their ability to find new work opportunities. 

Croatia Rapid Assessment Survey – January 2021 – This survey tracks the effects of COVID-19 on Croatian people from urban and rural communities before and during the pandemic. The survey uses many demographic indicators such as education, location and genderm and examines the status of employment, income, savings, opinions, children’s education, and physical and mental health of 1,500 households, totaling 4,288 individuals (3,614 adults and 674 children).

Encouraging Women’s Economic Opportunities in Croatia: Empirical Evidence of Determinants and Policy Advice - This report analyzes potential factors and determinants affecting female labor force participation in Croatia and identifies potential policy options to facilitate greater participation of women in the labor market. The report shows that the main reason for women’s inactivity in Croatia is child-rearing and other family responsibilities.

Investing in Opportunities for All: Croatia Country Gender Assessment - This study reviews the state of equality between women and men in Croatia in terms of endowments, economic opportunities, and voice and agency. While certain indicators of gender equality remain strong, a closer look reveals areas that need to be improved, such as equality in the labor market, women’s entrepreneurship and role in politics and business, the situation of Roma women, rural and urban disparities, care work distribution between men and women, and the inclusion of LGBTIQ people.

Gender Brochure - This brief was developed for the EU High-level conference "Participation of Women in the Labor Market – Benefit for Society" which took place in Zagreb on January 30-31, 2020, as part of Croatia’s EU Presidency. It summarizes the findings of the World Bank report "Investing in Opportunities for All: Croatia Country Gender Assessment", with a focus on gender gaps in access to economic opportunities. The brief assesses that these gaps are the result of a lack of care services, flexible work options and an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, and further constrained by location, age, and ethnicity.