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Women Parliamentary Network

Program description

Adoption of new laws and policies and monitoring the implementation of current legislation, particularly in the areas of women’s health and family, preventing violence against women and children, economic empowerment, education and promotion of women’s knowledge.

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Program description

Women Parliamentary Network – arguably one of most important initiatives in the field of gender equality and political inclusion in Serbia – came out from seminar(s) organized within the project “Women for Democracy and Equality” which was implemented by the BFPE and funded by the European Commission and the Finnish Government.

It was formally established four years ago, on 14 February 2013, for the first time in Serbia’s parliamentary history, after the introduction of the quota system in the parliamentary elections held on 6 May 2012.

Women’s Parliamentary Network in Serbia was from the onset supported by the President of the National Assembly, the Committee for Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality, OSCE Mission to Serbia and the BFPE.

In the elections, one third of the candidates on the electoral lists had to be the less represented gender – women, and 84 women were elected to be among the 250 MPs.

The Women’s Parliamentary Network comprises women MPs focusing on five objectives: women’s and family heath, combating violence against women and children, economic empowerment of women, education of women and promotion of women’s knowledge, and increased participation of women in political and public life.

In the four years of active work, the Women’s Parliamentary Network, in cooperation with the Government’s Coordination body for gender equality, Office of the Commissioner for Equality, civil sector and international organizations, has achieved significant results in Serbia, among them:

  • Amendment of the Criminal Code, in cooperation with the Incest Trauma Centre, eliminating the statute of limitation for acts of sexual violence against minors; introduction of sexual harassment topics into elementary and high-school textbooks i.e. how to recognize and combat sexual harassment;
  • Adoption of the Law on Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, to come into force on 1 July 2017;
  • Introduction of gender-responsive budgeting into the Budget Law, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, civil and international organizations, to better allocate funds for the needs of men and women as end-beneficiaries;
  • Organization of four annual national conferences attended by about 1000 councilwomen from all Serbian towns and municipalities aimed at empowerment and networking. The result of the conferences is the creation of 53 councilwomen’s networks across Serbia;
  • WPN initiated the establishment of a regional network of women MPs from South-East Europe at the international conference in Belgrade, 2-3 March 2015, so that they can cooperate on gender equality.

WPN’s future priorities will be passing new laws and monitoring the implementation of existing ones, raising awareness on women’s solidarity, affirmation of gender equality at all decision-making levels, urging for a 50% representation in the executive, equal pay for equal work, more active engagement of women in local policies and higher media visibility of the Women’s Parliamentary Network for the purpose of improving the living and working conditions of the 51.7% of the population of Serbia – women.

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