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Round table on equal opportunities in public administration, academia, and business

Slovenia's Chairmanship of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII), in cooperation with the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce and AII Permanent Secretariat, organised a round table on “Equal opportunities in public administration, academia, and business”. The starting point for the organisation of the round table was the second study on equal opportunities in Slovenian diplomacy, which was recently concluded and conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with Icelandic colleagues.

The round table was opened by Natalia Al-Mansour, Coordinator for Equal Opportunities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Dr Nataša Bergelj, Head of the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Prof. Dr Elena Bužan from the University of Primorska. They outlined the results of the two fundamental research studies conducted in two different areas. The round table continued with presentations by representatives of the business sector and civil society from Italy, Albania, and Greece, and Prof. Dr Andreja Kutnar, who gave an overview of the rapidly growing and internationally recognised InnoRenew research centre, the activities of which include exploring the niche use of wood as an important Slovenian natural resource. 

Key findings from the round table were that there is a discernible trend towards the increased participation of women in high-level positions in public administration, academia, and the business sector, while occasional fluctuations still occur. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant standstill in this respect, especially for women below the age of 30. The efforts aimed at improving the overall situation of women need to be channelled into the international arena and the cross-sectoral framework, while also taking into account globalisation trends. Key factors for the improvement are material and social conditions, education, and general culture. The current improving situation and the exchange of good practices are the foundations on which to build progress. 

It was agreed that a similar, follow-up event on equal opportunities in diplomacy and business world will be held in the autumn.

This expert meeting was held in a virtual form and brought together 40 participants from ten AII member states.