Date: Fri, 4 Apr 97 19:55:38 CST
From: (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Women's Groups Active in Croatia Elections
/** headlines: 208.0 **/
** Topic: Women's Groups Active in Croatia Elections **
** Written 10:25 PM Apr 3, 1997 by mmason in cdp:headlines **

The Women's Ad Hoc Coalition '97 to influence and monitor the elections in Croatia

From B.a.B.e., Zagreb, 1 April 1997

Zagreb—On April 13, 1997, elections for the local authorities, as well as regional house of the Parliament will be held in Croatia. The Coalition from 1995 has been renewed and broadened to 18 women's groups from all around Croatia, including the UNTAES zone in Eastern Slavonia. B.a.B.e. has organized a seminar for forming the Coalition and deciding on a women's program and platform. 29 women from 17 women's groups have participated at the seminar (Zagreb, February 7-9).

The objectives of the Coalition are:

The Coalition addresses questions of vital interest to women in Croatia, such as: keeping abortion in Croatia safe, legal and accessible; establishment of social programs for single mothers and other women's populations at risk, (minority women e.g.); increased participation of women in political decision making bodies; women's right to work; establishment of a national machinery against discrimination of women in labor market; establishment of national programs against violence against women (laws, police education, shelters and therapy for violated women); education for more human relations among genders and against violence, sexual education in schools.

The Coalition has developed a poster, leaflets and badges with the Coalition's logo 51% (the female population in Croatia is 51%). The badges say I exchange one corner of the house for a seat in the Parliament! which refers to the common Croatian proverb that women keep three corners of the house (read: a woman's place and power is in the home). The main slogans on the leaflets are:

51 % for:
•legal, safe and free abortion and contraceptives!
•sharing of responsibilities at home and power in the state!
•right to work and fair wages; employment and career!
•stop violence against women!

The platform of the Coalition (We Can and Want More!) addresses: women's reproductive rights: they are under threat of being abolished due to strong presence of the catholic church and conservative forces; women's right to political power: at the regional level there is only 4,25% women representatives; women's right to paid work and recognition of women in the labor force, and; all forms of violence against women: 30% of women in Croatia are victims of domestic violence.

Women's groups from the Ad Hoc Coalition will organize a number of activities locally and nationally, such as public hearings, women's lists, street activities, round tables, lobbying, media work, distribution of visual materials such as posters, stickers, badges. The promotion materials has been distributed around the country and a TV commercial is under production.

In 1995 B.a.B.e. has initiated and coordinated an Ad Hoc Coalition of 13 Croatian women's groups for monitoring and influencing the elections in Croatia (October 1995.) One of the demands from the 1995 Coalition was met with the establishment of a governmental Commission for Equality. Some political parties have developed a women's initiative and one political party, ASH, has adopted the entire 1995 Ad Hoc Coalition platform. Since the 1995 elections women representation in the House of Representatives has increased from 5,3% to presently 8%.

Members of the 1997 Women's Ad Hoc Coalition are: Ariadna, Rijeka; Autonomous Women's House, Zagreb; B.a.B.e., Women's Human Rights Group, Zagreb; Center for Women WarVictims, Zagreb; Center for Women Studies, Zagreb; Dalmatian Committee for the Affirmation of Women, Split; Electra, Zagreb; Rosa House, Zagreb; SOS Telephone for Women Victims of Violence, Zagreb; Women of AntiWar Campaign Croatia, Zagreb; Women's Group of the Center for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights, Osijek; Women's Group, Losinj; Women's Group, Pakrac; Women's Group, Porec; Women's Group, Split; Women's Information and Documentation Center, Zagreb; Women's Peace Workshop-Suncokret, Rijeka; Workshop Open Door, Split.