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Below is the statement of the Academy of Women’s Leadership regarding the offensive and unacceptable statements of the Patriarch.

The Academy of Women’s Leadership once again calls on all those who act in public to give up the practice of discriminatory and misogynistic statements about women. We are very concerned about the apparent continuation of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s (SPC) campaign against women in Serbia. Awareness of responsibility for spoken words must exist.

The recording of the address of Patriarch Porfiri, who calls women wretched and poor, is deeply humiliating and disturbing for all women in Serbia. Gender equality is a civilizational achievement that ensures the equality of people in a society. Its integral part is also the use of language, so that if the patriarch can say poor woman, maid and doctor, so can policewoman, soldier, and minister.

In his speech, the patriarch acts from a position of power and dominance, a superior person who deals with what he considers “disobedient women”, he aims at individuals who have the courage to publicly oppose the attacks of the church on the secular structure of the Republic of Serbia, with the intention that at any cost restore the dominant patriarchal patterns in our society and humiliate women by showing them where they belong.

All this is happening after an unprecedented tragedy and the murder of innocent young people, but also at a time of escalation of violence against women. At the root of violence is the abuse of male power and dominance, which does not abate. Since the beginning of 2023, eighteen women have been officially killed in Serbia as a result of domestic and intimate partner violence. This is precisely why the lack of awareness about the position of women and the consequences of discriminatory speech and actions of those who influence public opinion and are role models for their followers is deeply worrying.

We must fight against misogyny, sexism and discrimination at every opportunity and demand responsibility for all those who represent and/or justify them.

The Academy of Women’s Leadership has on several occasions documented and presented to the public data on the extent to which sexism and misogyny are present in public speech in Serbia. They are especially dangerous when they appear in institutions, media and social networks. They represent the first visible expression of gender inequality in our society. As a rule, they are aimed at women and girls with the idea of discrimination against them and directly affect their mental and physical health.

Also, we remind you that the Academy of Women’s Leadership, together with partners, organized an election for the most misogynistic statement in 2022 in December. We will continue to do so in the future. With this statement, Patriarch Porphyry was running for the election for the most misogynistic statement in 2023.

We continue to invite citizens, as well as journalists, to send us misogynistic statements of public figures uttered in public and in the media to [email protected].

The announcement was originally published on the website of the Academy of Women’s Leadership.

You can find the original version of the announcement at the LINK.

This post is also available in SRP.

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