8 March 2016 The National Assembly House celebrates International Women’s Day

8 March 2016 The National Assembly House celebrates International Women’s Day

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

National Assembly House Celebrates International Women’s Day

The National Assembly House hosted a celebration of International Women’s Day entitled “Changing the world with our own strength”, organised by the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality and the Office for Human and Minority Rights.

Opening the gathering, National Assembly Speaker Maja Gojkovic said that the women of Serbia must continue the fight for equality and for a society without prejudice and stereotypes, and open the doors for other women. Gojkovic said that the objective is to create a country where work and results would be the only measure of success, no matter whether these are achieved by a man or a woman.

“Women in Serbia and around the world, after more than a century, still need to fight – for social equality, equal employment opportunities and equal pay for equal work”, said the Assembly Speaker. Gojkovic said that the Parliament had recognised the need to strengthen gender equality both through the work of the Women’s Parliamentary Network and by passing laws that increase the visibility of women. The next question is what to do to make sure these laws truly are enforced, to empower women and put them in key decision-making positions. “We, women in politics, are often faced with numerous stereotypes, and many of us have been the target of untoward comments”, said Gojkovic stressing that this only shows that “we have to joint forces and continue the fight for equality and for a society without prejudice and stereotypes”.

The participants were also addressed by the organisers of the event headed by Meho Omerovic, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality, and Suzana Paunovic, Director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights, who highlighted the importance of women who had championed the cause of gender equality through history and stressed the importance of dialogue, saying that there is no fairer or stronger sex and that genders should be equal in all matters.

Zorana Mihajlovic, Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Serbian Government’s Coordination Body for Gender Equality, reminded the attending of women revolutionaries such as Clara Zetkin who fought for women’s rights and gender equality, adding that Serbia continues to combat violence against women, fight for equal pay for women and men occupying the same posts, and the Gender Equality Law.

Marija Obradovic, Chairperson of the National Assembly’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee, said that eight of the 20 National Assembly’s committees are headed by women, and the Belgrade councillors’ lists are 40% women. “Women need to be active, networking, visible, and draw attention to their achievements”, said Obradovic.

Gordana Rajkov of the Centre for Independent Living of Persons with Disabilities as the honorary guest reminded the attending not to forget that women and girls with disabilities are just women and girls, however any life problem they might have is tripled. She urged the public to focus on persons with disabilities who are frequently victims of violence because they often depend on their abusers, that safe houses are not easily accessible to them and that Serbia must amend its Constitution as regards persons with disabilities.

Prominent women from various spheres also spoke at the gathering, viz. Mirjana Djurdjevic, President of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Serbia, opera singer Natasa Tasic Knezevic and novelist Isidora Bjelica. The discussion was followed by the documentary “Changing the world with our own strength” which reminded the attending of famous Serbian women throughout history, and by a concert of Bilja Krstic and Bistrik Orchestra.

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