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This article examines the situation of working women and their career development in Central and Eastern Europe. It looks at the difficulties and the obstacles preventing them from competing effectively with men. It considers the legal protection, or lack thereof, and the enforcement of the principle of equal treatment. It also evaluates the progress in the transposition of EU legal standards on equality and in the implementation of the new multi-faceted strategy, gender mainstreaming, targeting gender issues.First, the article begins with assessment of equal opportunities under communism weighing the incontestable impediments and essential advantages of this period. Secondly, it investigates the changes that have occurred over the last twenty years, mainly market transformation and its impact on women at work. In particular, it critically evaluates the consequences of "unprepared" transition without, however, underestimating the challenges and opportunities. Thirdly, it discusses the evolution in legal protection through the implementation of the EU equality directives. Finally, it looks at progress in the application of the gender mainstreaming strategy stressing the importance of combined efforts in the legal, social, economic and political spheres. In conclusion, this article offers some reflections as to how (best) to remedy some existing problems and, overall, to enhance women's positions in employment.

In: Review of Central and East European Law