There are a lot of competent women in Lithuania who can hold offices of ministers or other important positions, however, women in the Baltic country are not given the opportunity to more actively participate in the process of decision making, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė said on Wednesday.
Dalia Grybauskaitė
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

Before leaving to the Davos World Economic Forum, Grybauskaitė commented on current situation in Lithuania's government where women are absent from the cabinet of ministers.

After last month's Skvernelis decision to replace three ministers, including two former female ministers -- ministers of education and culture, currently 13 out of 14 Lithuanian ministers are men. There is still no candidate for the position of the environment minister.

"The news has been spread around, (and) we are receiving inquiries. It is seen critically, this question will not be the most pleasant (in Davos) if I have to respond," Grybauskaitė said in an interview with local radio broadcaster LRT.

In her words, it is also a general worldwide trend which shows that women's leadership slightly declined in 2018.

"The trend, unfortunately, is clearly reflected here as well and we see that there is one vacancy in our government. Even if it is filled by a woman, it is still obvious that Lithuania looks the worst among the EU member states because it practically does not have women in the government," said Grybauskaitė.

She said that the ruling majority and the prime minister were responsible for the situation in Lithuania.

"The fact itself is very much about the attitude towards women in this government," she added.

Meanwhile, speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament Viktoras Pranckietis said that the cabinet of ministers is formed based on people's competences and not gender.

"It is not gender that comes first but competence. Another thing, we have a woman head of state and we can be pleased and proud about that," Pranckietis was quoted as saying by news agency Elta.

Pranckietis echoed the view of Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who earlier dismissed criticism regarding absence of women in his cabinet, claiming that "it should not be detrimental to Lithuania's image".

Lithuania hosts the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) funded by the EU. Meanwhile, Grybauskaitė is a chair of the Council of Women World Leaders.

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