Lithuanian government seeks to replace female ministers

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says he will replace female ministers because he wants "more rapid changes in their remit."

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Lithuania
Lithuanian government seeks to replace female ministers - NewsMavens
Saulius Skvernelis. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

The Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis is about to present candidates for vacant ministerial positions. Amid a teachers' strike, he is struggling to find someone willing to take over the Ministry of Education and Science from Jurgita Petrauskienė, whom he fired for her failure to reach a compromise with teachers.

It just so happens that the prime minister wants "breakthrough in these areas", and neither of the women in his government was, in his view, able to deliver.

Milda Vainiutė, who was the minister of justice, resigned after a spat with the president.

Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson, who was the minister of culture, told the media she was never supported by the ruling party. 

The Lithuania-based European Institute for Gender Equality reported that the political situation of women in Lithuania has not changed between 2005 and 2015 (before this government took office), and Lithuania's gender equality index value in the domain of power was at 36.6 as opposed to the 52.7 EU average. Before the dismissals, Lithuania already lagged behind most EU countries in terms of representation of women in government, ahead only of Hungary and on par with Malta.

Details from the story:

  • Earlier this month, the prime minister requested that the president dismiss three ministers Jurgita Petrauskienė (education and science), Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson (culture) and Kęstutis Navickas (environment).
  • Kęstutis Navickas says his ministry was routinely perceived as an obstacle to the business and hunters' lobby.
  • PM Skvernelis has found candidates for the justice and environment portfolios, but no one so far for the difficult task in reaching a compromise with protesting teachers.
  • As the search for new ministers continues, 15min published results of a study on the different ministers' media exposure. Aurelijus Veryga, who has championed the controversial restrictions on alcohol sales, advertising and consumption, was in the spotlight more often than any other minister (14 thousand media reports).
  • Energy minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas was the least frequently featured (just over 3 thousand mentions). As the teachers' protests errupted, Petrauskienė became the runner up with 10 thousand mentions.
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