The Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence in cooperation with the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, and with generous financial support from the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands within the scope of the MATRA Programme, organized two roundtables with the local self-governance representatives and women politicians from the local political parties of Novi Pazar on August 31st and September 1st 2018, in the course of the „For More Women in Decision Making“ project. The roundtables incorporated discussions on the significance of gender equality on the local level, the implementation possibilites for the examples of good practice of organizing women in politics, as well as the roles of local mechanisms for gender equality and the potential allies in their affirmation on the local level.
During the first day of the event, the keynote speeches were delivered by Ifeta Radončić, President of the Novi Pazar City Hall and Bogdan Banjac, Counselor of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, who underlined gender equality in the self-governance units in further discussions. Marijana Pajvančić, Activist of the Women’s Platform for Development of Serbia, spoke of the importance of gender equality on the local level and the implications of the regulations for local self-governance. Gender equality in the activities of the working bodies in cities and districts, as well as the role of mechanisms for gender equality were further addressed by her colleage from the Women’s Platform, Marija Srdić. The first roundtable was attended by the Deputy Mayor, the President of the Local City Hall of Novi Pazar, the representatives of the Youth Office, the High Court of Minor Offences, the National Employment Office, the Security Council, the Employment Council, as well as members of the City Council and representatives of the National Assembly.
The keynote speech on the second day was delivered by Misala Zukorlić, an alumnus of the Women’s Leadership Academy. Thereafter, Marijana Pajvančić presented the models and mechanisms of organizing women in politics on the local level. The women’s first-hand experience in politics was depicted by Gordana Čomić, Tatjana Macura and Snežana Paunović of the Women’s Parliamentary Network of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. During the second day, the meeting was attended by the representatives of the Democratic Party of Sandžak, the Party of Democratic Action, the Party of Justice and Reconciliation, the Serbian Socialist Party, as well as the representatives of the civil sector in Novi Pazar.
The second discussion of the day was introduced by Zibija Šarenkapić, Chief Executive Officer of the Cultural Centre „DamaD“ and Marija Srdić. Both discussions were moderated by activist Aida Ćorović. The participants of the rountables pointed at the special significance of the fact that organizations and activists from other cities and municipalities organized such a meeting in their local community, in order to gather them at the roundtable and help them recognize the common subjects and space for mutual understanding and support. The participants came to a common conclusion that it is necessary to establish a network of the women members of the local parliament and have simultaneously layed the groundwork for its future development. Gordana Čomić underlined that politics is the most creative of all professions, as it enables people to reach an agreement on how to form reality that we will all be experiencing in the future, and that through politics we can alter not only the world around us, but also the connections and relations of the society which we inhabit.
The organization of the roundtables was greatly supported by the institution of the Comissioner for Protection of Equality, the City of Novi Pazar, as well as the alumni of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence programs.