EU Home Affairs Commissioner Johansson visits Lithuania

  • 2024-02-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will make a visit to Lithuania on Friday.

The commissioner is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte and they will discuss the security situation and the European Union's solidarity with Ukraine, the European Commission Representation in Lithuania said.

Johansson is scheduled to speak at an international conference on women in law enforcement. The conference will focus on the role of women and gender equality in law enforcement, with a particular focus on the low number of women in leadership positions.

"I wanted to organize this conference as soon as I started working in this position and I have certainly raised a lot of questions. First of all, because we have 19,000 statutory officers, and we see that some of them are women, i. e., one third. It is certainly a significant change that has been made in 20 years," Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite told the public radio LRT on Friday. 

The number of female officers has increased, with 43 percent of women now working in the police, which is higher than in Sweden, but the number of female managers is too low, standing at just 4 percent, the minister pointed out.

The reasons for this will be discussed during the conference, Bilotaite said, adding that stereotypes about women leaders still exist in society.

"It is no secret, and even during certain meetings in the parliament, I have been asked as a minister whether it was not a heavy burden on my shoulders, as a woman, to hold this position. A man would not be asked that. I have also received comments about my appearance, about my qualities that are not discussed if you are a man," she said.

The conference will also be attended by the interior ministers of Germany, Finland and Belgium, the justice minister of Iceland, the heads of Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) and the European Institute for Gender Equality.

Lithuania has around 19,000 law enforcement officers, including almost 6,000 are women, but so far no women have been appointed to head a law enforcement agency.