Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape, is punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment under the law. The government generally enforced the law. Government statistics on rape and sexual coercion included 1,303 reported occurrences and 278 convictions in 2011.
Domestic violence is punishable under the criminal code provisions for murder, rape, sexual abuse, and bodily injury. However, there were reports of violence against women, including spousal abuse. According to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Civil Service, between 10 and 20 percent of adult women suffered from violence in a relationship during their lifetimes. Fewer than 10 percent of women abused by an intimate partner filed complaints. Police can issue a two-week order barring abusive family members from contact with the victim, and courts may extend the order for up to six months.
According to Justice Ministry statistics released in February, courts issued injunctions prohibiting abusive family members from returning home in more than 7,700 cases in 2011.
Under the law, the government actively provides psychosocial care, in addition to legal aid and support throughout the judicial process, to survivors of gender-based violence. Police training programs addressed sexual or gender-based violence and domestic abuse.
The government funded privately operated intervention centers and hotlines for victims of domestic abuse. The centers provided for victims’ safety, assessed the threat posed by perpetrators, helped victims develop plans to stop the abuse, and provided legal counseling and other social services. NGOs observed that these centers were generally effective in providing shelter for victims of abuse.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Authorities can prosecute FGM/C under the criminal code’s general bodily injury provisions. It is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment, and the government generally enforced the law. The labor courts may order employers to compensate victims of sexual harassment on the basis of the Federal Equality Commission’s finding in a case; the law entitles a victim to a minimum of 1,000 euros ($1,300) in financial compensation. Of the 3,215 cases of discrimination brought to the ombudsman in 2011 for reasons of gender, 345 involved sexual harassment.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children, and do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. The government offered free access to contraception. Mandatory health insurance provided skilled attendance during childbirth, prenatal care, and essential obstetric and postpartum care.
Discrimination: Women enjoy the same legal rights as men, and the Federal Equality Commission and the ombudsman for equal treatment of gender oversee laws requiring equal treatment of men and women. The ombudsman provides advice in discrimination cases and can file complaints with the Federal Equality Commission on behalf of persons who assert discrimination against them. The minister for women’s affairs and civil service is responsible for promoting the legal rights of women.
To establish greater transparency and reduce the pay gap between the genders, in 2011 the government began to require reporting on salaries by position and gender for all companies with more than 1,000 employees. During the year this requirement was extended to all companies with more than 500 employees, which must file biannual reports. The participation rate for women between the ages of 15 and 64 in the labor force was 66.5 percent as compared to 77.8 percent for men. Approximately 44.5 percent of employed women worked part time, compared with 32 percent in 2000.
Female employees in the private sector may invoke laws prohibiting discrimination against women. Depending on the Federal Equality Commission’s findings, labor courts may award the equivalent of up to four months’ salary to women found to have experienced gender discrimination in promotion. The courts may also order compensation for women denied a post despite having equal qualifications.