25 May 2021 The Women's Parliamentary Network meets with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden

25 May 2021 The Women's Parliamentary Network meets with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Women's Parliamentary Network Meets with Swedish Foreign Minister

Representatives of the Women's Parliamentary Network (WPN) met today, at the National Assembly House, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ann Linde to discuss the steps taken to improve the position of women in Serbia. The meeting was also attended by National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic, so WPN Coordinator Sandra Bozic took the opportunity to express her gratitude for the National Assembly Speaker’s support for the Women's Parliamentary Network.

She stressed that the WPN’s basic goals are the health of women and families, combating violence against women and children, economic empowerment of women, education of women and the promotion of women's knowledge and participation in public and political life. Bozic said that since its establishment, the WPN has enjoyed the support of the OSCE and UNDP, as well as partners from the civil sector.

"The Women's Parliamentary Network has become a credible factor and the core of the basic initiative, primarily in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, with a crucial impact on improving the position of women in Serbia. Significant results have been achieved, including the amendment of the Criminal Code to eliminate the statute of limitation for sexual offenses against minors in Serbia, introducing more content concerning sexual abuse into textbooks for primary and secondary schools viz. how to recognise and resist it, an amendment was passed to provided more funds in the 2016 Budget to encourage women farmers, the Law on Prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence was adopted, gender responsive budgeting introduced", said Sandra Bozic.

She also mentioned that 40% of the MPs are women and the Government of the Republic of Serbia has 50% of women in ministerial positions.
"What we recognise as a challenge that we need to work on is the position of women at the local level, in terms of the executive branch. Serbia is following an upward trend, with the President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic and the WPN, as well as the government representatives who have his strong support, so now is the moment when we can do a lot on the economic empowerment of women and their political involvement," concluded Sandra Bozic.
Minister Ann Linde stressed that the Kingdom of Sweden has a feminist government, as well as a foreign policy, meaning that it is very concerned with including gender issues in all relevant areas. This is the basic goal of the OSCE, which operates in three dimensions: military, economic and environmental-human. In each of them, Sweden has different ways to put women's issues and gender issues on the agenda, said the Minister.
"From the perspective of the Swedish government, I would like to point out three priorities, namely women, peace and security, which rely on the UN Resolution. One of the reasons for this is that there is research that shows that when women are involved in peace negotiations, agreements and arrangements are more sustainable", said the Minister.
WPN members Snezana Paunovic and Natasa Mihailovic Vacic said that the education of women is key and gender equality is a long ongoing process that never stops. They said that by founding the WPN the MPs showed how easy it is to overcome all differences, be they political, national or religious, adding that it is precisely because of this that the network has achieved great results.

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