22 October 2021 The participants of the Women's Parliamentary Network workshop
Friday, 22 October 2021
Women's Parliamentary Network Forum in Priboj - First in Series of Visits to Districts across Serbia
Pivo Karamatijevic Cultural Center in Priboj hosted a workshop dedicated to the Law on Gender Equality and Local Self-Governments - Opportunities and Challenges, on 22 October 2021.
This workshop launches a series of visits to local governments, a cooperation of the Women's Parliamentary Network with the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, UNDP and OSCE, aimed at discussing the challenges of and mechanisms needed for the implementation the Law on Gender Equality at national and local levels. The representation of women in decision-making positions in local self-governments, the use of gender equality tools in the work of local self-government and the degree of implementation of gender responsive budgeting will be the focus of attention of these visits.
The coordinators of the Women's Parliamentary Network spoke at the opening of the workshop in Priboj.
Milanka Jevtovic Vukojicic said that the WPN, established in 2013, gathers women parliamentarians irrespective of political affiliation, meaning that this Network has developed a culture of dialogue and mutual respect. "Our joint activities are aimed at respecting human rights and freedoms," she said. Jevtovic Vukojicic also pointed out that it is important to hear opinions, proposals and suggestions from the locals, so that we could continue to work toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, goal number 5 being gender equality.
Snezana Paunovic thanked the previous generations of MPs who participated in the formation of the WPN in 2013. The WPN’s greatest achievement is managing to bridge the existing political gap, Paunovic said, adding that two ministers in the current Government are the founders of this Network - Gordana Comic and Marija Obradovic. Women who agree on a common goal can achieve everything, she said, pointing out that members of the Women's Parliamentary Network managed to initiate changes in the law, and introduce gender budgeting, as well as the obligatory 40% representation of women in parliament, thanks to which today’s Parliament has a significant percentage of young women MPs who have stepped into politics.
Natasa Mihailovic Vacic pointed out the legislative and normative work done with the adoption of the Law on Gender Equality and the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, as well as the adoption of the Gender Equality Strategy by 2030, which shows a clear commitment by the state, but there is still work to be done. Societies that have achieved gender equality are functional societies, and women in politics contribute to lasting peace and stability and bring new quality and progress in society, Mihailovic Vacic concluded.
The participants of the workshop were also addressed by the President of Priboj Municipal Assembly Boris Mrdovic who said that securing investments in Priboj in the previous period has led to the strengthening of the labour force and economic empowerment of women, as well as halting the migration from Priboj. Mrdovic added that the local self-government’s the previous administration had established a women's councillor network, adopted the European Charter on Gender Equality, as well as Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan. The municipality is also implementing the legal obligation of gender budgeting.
OSCE Mission to Serbia representative Agnes Bodens said that though there is continuous progress in Serbia in terms of participation of women in politics, there is still a lot of work to be done. According to a survey conducted by the OSCE in Serbia, over 25% of women know at least one woman who has been a victim of domestic or partner violence, she said, stressing that cultural norms contribute to maintaining inequality. She praised the adoption of the new Law on Gender Equality, stating that the full implementation of this law, especially at the local level, is of key importance, which calls for the participation of the entire society. She praised the work of the WPN, which has always been supra-party in its work.
The representative of the United Nations Development Program in Serbia Ivica Stevanovic emphasised the WPN’s great achievements such as the adoption of the election law which ensures women’s 40% participation in parliament and the new Law on Gender Equality. He also spoke of the importance of gaining insight into the position of women at the local level, which a gathering such as this one greatly contribute to.
Natasa Okilj, UNDP Consultant/SCTM Adviser on Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination and Coordinator of the SCTM Gender Equality Network, and a representative of Priboj Municipality spoke at the panel on the new Law on Gender Equality, moderated by WPN member Milanka Jevtovic Vukojicic.
Natasa Okilj, on behalf of the UNDP and SCTM, and a representative of Priboj Municipality spoke at the panel dedicated to local gender equality mechanisms and gender responsive budgeting, moderated by WPN member Samira Cosovic.
A representative of the Save the Village Women's Association from Priboj and a representative of the local self-government spoke at the panel dedicated to women in the local community and gender equality in practice, moderated by WPN member Dijana Radovic.
Each session was followed by a discussion in which the members of the Women's Parliamentary Network and representatives of the local governments and NGOs shared their views and experiences on gender equality and the opportunities and challenges for the full implementation of the Law on Gender Equality, at the national and local levels.
The workshop in Priboj was attended by the following members of the Women's Parliamentary Network: Milanka Jevtovic Vukojicic, Dijana Radovic, Misala Pramenkovic, Snezana Paunovic, Samira Cosovic, Natada Mihailovic Vacic, Ana Beloica, Milica Dacic, Jelena Obradovic, Mirela Radenkovic, Miljana Sakic, Sandra Jokovic, Milica Nikolic, Dunja Simonovic Bratic and Snezana Petrovic.
9.00 - sitting of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)
10.00 - the National Assembly Speaker meets with the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)
12.00 - sitting of the Culture and Information Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 4)