J. Joksimović: Women – great potential for Serbia's development
March 08 2018 | Belgrade
“Key steps towards gender equality” is the title of the new three-year EU project, which has been launched today on International Women's Day with the aim of further empowering the position of women in Serbia.
The project is funded by the EU with EUR 2 million in grants. Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović, Head of the EU Delegation Sem Fabrizi, State Secretary in the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Miodrag Poledica and Deputy Regional Director of UN Women Sabine Freizer attended the launch of the project in the Yugoslav Cinematheque, while Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlović made an address through a video message.
On the occasion of the International Women's Day, Joksimović reflected on a frequently asked question in Serbia: “Is this holiday still relevant and should it be celebrated?”
“I believe that it is still important to mark this holiday because the rights of women everywhere in the world have not yet been fully achieved - either political, or social, or economic. In that sense, 8 March retains its importance all over the world,” Joksimović has pointed out.
As regards women in Serbia, she believes they represent a great potential for the overall development of Serbia, and above all for economic development.
“Although women are the majority in the total population, they are in fact a minority on the labour market. It is unsustainable and does not lead to economic development. We need to improve gender equality to achieve a society of equal opportunities, which is a vital European value,” Joksimović has said.
In that regard, she has stated that the Government of Serbia has adopted two significant documents aimed at strengthening the position of women in Serbia - the National Strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for the period 2016−2020 and the National Strategy for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, which is important for economic empowerment of women.
“In addition to the financial means from the budget that we have allocated for these programmes, the EU, as our biggest partner, has allocated another EUR 2 million in grants through pre-accession funds (IPA), both to strengthen the institutional framework for gender equality of women, and to direct donations for the development of women's entrepreneurship, mentoring, in particular for women in rural areas,” Joksimović has explained.
She is convinced that this additional money from the EU will not only help initiate the topic of gender equality as a media story, but that it will also be used for concrete economic empowerment of women and improvement of the entrepreneurial spirit of women in the country, who she believes are capable and have capacities and knowledge to perform numerous jobs.
“Diplomacy, as well as European integration, have proven to be the best field where women can demonstrate their knowledge, negotiating skills, patience, wisdom, resolving post-conflict situations, successful negotiations ...,” Joksimović has stated.
She has also highlighted that the Ministry, headed by her, has established good cooperation with the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, led by Minister Zorana Mihajlović, and reminded that she was the first to raise the issue of gender equality when this Coordination Body was established three years ago.