On the relationship between Labor Legislation and Gender Equality

Dr. Sanja Stojković Zlatanović, Senior Research Associate at the Center for Legal Research, on May 17, 2023, gave a lecture on the topic “Labor legislation and gender equality – Genus proximum et differentia specifica”. The lecture was prepared as a part of the lecture cycle entitled New Views, Perspectives and Research on Gender Theory organized by the Research Group for Gender Equality and Public Policy of the Institute of Social Sciences.

The aim of the lecture was to review and analyze the key labor law institutes of importance for the application of the feminist method in modern labor law. The normative challenges regarding a gender perspective in labor law were emphasized, considering the historical context i.e. the origin and development of labor law, as a branch of law, and the terminological demarcation of the concepts of gender equality, equality at work, as well as the prohibition of gender-based discrimination.

From the standpoint of legal theory, legislation, and practice, inequality in the labor market and workplaces arose in society and is linked with cultural and ethical norms while the role of law is of a corrective, i.e. protective nature, and presupposes a change in traditional viewpoints in society and family. The special i.e. additional protection of women in terms of maternity and childbirth has been recognized in traditional labor law, while recently, with the affirmation of the gender perspective in the field of work and employment, special measures aimed to provide protection from gender-based discrimination, as well as to empower women at the workplaces. However, modern labor law is developing in the direction of promoting the equal empowerment of both, men and women at workplaces, emphasizing that the needs of men must not be neglected as a condition for the consistent application of the principle of gender equality.

During the discussion, the issue of job security after the usage of parental leave, particularly underlining the vulnerable position of women, as well as the necessity to encourage men to combine work and fatherhood were argued. Besides that, participants emphasized the importance of social stereotypes regarding gender roles that have reflected on the employment, and job security. It was concluded that all of these issues couldn`t be observed outside of social context, labor standards and their effective implementation.

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30. 11. 2022.

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