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Photograph: Freeimages.com / Owen Parry

Last year, 108 life partnerships were registered in Croatia, with 57 such partnerships having been entered into by men and 51 by women, says a report on the work of the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality in 2015.

The report covers the period from August 2014, when the Act on Life Partnership went into force, to the end of 2015.

Ombudswoman Visnja Ljubicic warns in the report that, compared to the year before, there was no progress in 2015 in the protection of the physical integrity of people of same-sex orientation and in the prevention of crimes motivated by hate towards that population.

According to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior, no criminal proceedings were launched for any criminal act motivated by hate towards homosexuals even though police processed five such cases.

In 2015, the Ombudswoman worked on close to 2,500 cases, including 486 that referred to individual protection from discrimination, while the remaining 2,000 or so cases were opened mostly at her request for the sake of checking compliance with relevant laws.

Most complaints (90%) referred to sexual discrimination, most complainants were women, and the areas most complaints referred to were work and social security.

Ljubicic warns in her report about a gap in salaries, with men earning around HRK 10,400 more in gross value annually than women.

The labour market remained marked by gender segregation. Of a total of 19 areas of work, women were extremely or significantly underrepresented in eight areas, mostly construction, mining, water supply industry and waste management.

They were overrepresented in the financial and insurance sectors and the health, welfare and education sectors.

The number of fathers on maternity and parental leave increased only slightly in 2015. Statistics from the Croatian Health Insurance Institute (HZZO) show that there were 2,200 such cases (2.04%).

When all categories of users of maternity and parental allowances are put together, the number of fathers who used such allowances in 2015 comes to 3,500 (1.7%).

"This means that measures that enable balancing work and family are still not being sufficiently used," says Ljubicic.

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