Gender Conference in Belgrade

A national gender conference was held in Belgrade 21/5, with about 140 participants representing Serbian municipalities, NGOs, local gender equality mechanisms, political parties, media, trade unions, universities, ministries and other interest organizations.

In focus of the conference was interaction, with a panel discussion with not beforehand prepared speeches and parallel workshops with an open invitation to contribute to the process of writing a new gender policy for the Serbian association of local authorities, SCTM.

Đorđe Staničić, Secretary General of SCTM, put emphasis on gender issues as vital for development at local level. SCTM does support gender issues, for example via the formation of a Gender Working Group and the work on a new gender policy. But Đorđe also recognized that there is a certain level of resistance against gender issues within SCTM. “Sometimes NGOs understand these issues better than us”, he admitted. Participating at the conference was also Stana Božović, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Torgny Svenungsson, Councillor at the Swedish Embassy and Gordana Čomić, Vice President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

Public questions and comments

Issues raised at the conference ranged from violence and security concerns to principles for naming children in the family. Integrating the ample input from the conference into a new gender policy for SCTM will be complicated but crucial.

The conference is part of a three year project with cooperation between SKL International, the Serbian and Swedish associations of local authorities. Read more about gender issues within the project here.