Belgrade, 8 March 2021 - On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Serbia is recalling that, despite significant progress in socio-economic development, no country has yet achieved full gender equality.
Globally, women on average still earn less than men in the same job, they are facing stereotypes preventing them from engaging in professions which are traditionally perceived as men’s domain, they are underrepresented in managerial positions in the public and private sector, and contribute disproportionally more of their time to care for children, the elderly and household work compared to men.
One of the most visible indicators of gender inequality, violence against women, continues to cause serious consequences not only for the lives of women exposed to it, but also for their family and the entire community . The current COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to increasing gender inequality and has additionally aggravated the position of women, in view of the impacts on the economic situation, increased unpaid work at home and higher risk of domestic violence.
Equal participation of women in all spheres of life and the opportunity for their voice to be heard, and their perspective be taken into account when making important decisions, contributes not only to the better position of women, but also to overall social development. That is why it is important that everyone be involved in efforts leading to better and more equitable life for all, through improving the legislative framework, implementing specific policies and measures, active promotion of networking and activism and a strong response against and overcoming of harmful prejudices.
„Women are agents of change. When we play an active role in decision-making, when we contribute our ideas, our knowledge and our experience to the economy, and when we have lives free of violence – we bring progress to the whole society. Let’s step up our efforts for gender equality“, says Francine Pickup, Resident Representative of UNDP in Serbia.
UNDP Serbia is continually implementing activities contributing to improved gender equality and empowerment of women.
We are building a society in which women are protected from violence …
We support effective enforcement of laws sanctioning violence and ensuring protection for all women. We are helping the work of non-government organisations whom women contact for support.
… which does not tolerate discrimination and violence
Media have a key role in educating women and men on causes and consequences of violence and on the unacceptability of of such behaviour. That is why we have established and are supporting the work of the group „Journalists against Violence towards Women“, which is investing efforts in professional information of the pubic on violence against women and empowering women who are exposed to it.
… in which the voice of women is heard equally when decisions relevant to the community are being made
Women should participate equally in decision making and should have the opportunity to be in the highest managerial positions. We support the networking of women members of parliament and women leaders in towns and municipalities, strengthening their voice and ensuring that all public policies contribute to gender equality.
… where women participate equally in the labour market of the future
In order to be economically empowered, women need to be involved in digital transformation. Within the IT retraining programme, we are improving women’s digital skills in order to assist them in finding jobs and promote their greater participation in this growing sector.
… where women are better protected against consequences of climate change and pollution
The effects of climate change are most strongly affecting women and children. We therefore must involve them in making decisions and identifying solutions. UNDP is providing assistance for gender mainstreaming laws and policies related to climate change . We are working on making renewable energy sources accessible to all, so that women, women’s entrepreneurship, farming estates and households can use them and further develop by using these solutions and contribute to preserving the environment.
… and no woman is left behind
With respect to gender equality, no one must be left behind, including vulnerable groups. We are working with young women and men from the Roma community and assisting them to connect with local institutions, so that their voice can be heard in the community.
We invite you to stay informed about our work and contribute to achieving gender equality, thereby also creating a more equal society for all, today and in the future.