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Safe women – safe communities

14. August 2019.

For the project “Safe Women – safe communities”, Women’s Association Sandglass received support in the call for proposal from OSCE Mission to Serbia in February 2015.

The purpose of the project, which will be implemented from March 1st  to June 30th 2015, is to contribute to increasing safety and security of women in Rasina District, as well as to promote the concept of human security, which focuses on the security of the citizens as individuals.

The project includes seminars, street actions, meetings and other forms of advocacy to encourage cities in Rasina District to sign the European Charter on gender equality, adopt local action plans for improving the status of women and establish gender equality bodies.

The focus of the project “Safe Women – safe community” is the safety of women.

According to the Network of Women Against Violence in 2013 in Serbia had been 43 femicide, a third more than in 2012 and 65% more than in 2010 (26). 22 SOS phone in the country receives each year about 10 000 calls for help and support. Number of shelters for women who are survivors of violence is only 14. Persecution is still not a criminal offense, despite the demands of women’s organizations and the recommendations within the Council of Europe Convention for the Prevention and Protection against Violence against Women, which was ratified and signed by Serbia.

It ‘s true that the percentage of women in parliament and in municipal assemblies is 30, however, when it comes to municipal councils, women make only 13 percent of the membership. In Rasina District, 3 out of 6 municipalities in the city council have no women. Only one city signed the European Charter on gender equality at local level. Only one city has partly made local action plan for the advancement of women. In one town there is no body for gender equality.

Women in all sectors and in all parts of life encounter with the so-called glass ceiling, or invisible barriers that impede their progress and the full enjoyment of human rights. Prejudices and stereotypes in relation to our role just because we were born as women and men are widespread. A recent survey of attitudes of students in primary and secondary schools showed that 1 in 5 fifteen year old boys believe that there are situations in which it is justified to hit a girl.

According to the number of adolescent abortions Serbia is in high place in Europe, as well as by the number of cases of reproductive organs cancer.

The experience of many years of Women’s Association Sandglass’s work has shown that women and men have different perceptions of safety and security. Unlike the concept of security, which focuses on the state, territory and nation, and as resources for their defense and preservation sees the army, police and other repressive mechanisms, the concept of human security is focused on individuals , citizens and their well-being and rights. Some of our beneficiaries, when we asked them when they feel safe, said: When I’m free … When I can go where ever I want  when ever I want … When I’m not afraid to say what I think … When I have a job and a salary … , When I know that state and institutions are going to support and protect me …

Serbia has signed all relevant international documents that guarantee equality between women and men, including CEDOW Convention, which requires States Parties to introduce into their policies and implement the principles of gender equality. The project “Safe Women – safe communities” is in accordance with international and domestic legal framework that regulates the human rights of women and gender equality. It includes three seminars for local officials, 6 meetings of women’s organizations, 6 street actions and other advocacy actions aimed to encourage local government in Rasina district to sign the European Charter on gender equality, to adopt action plans for the advancement of women and gender equality and establish gender equality bodies.

The project is implemented in cooperation with women’s groups and local governments in Rasina district, as well as the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.

I’m safe …
– When my health runs along with me …
– When violence is nowhere in the sight …
– When  what I say is appreciated; and what I don’t say …
– When decisions are not made without me …
– When my words are my friends …
– A park greets me at night without fear …

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