Conference “For a Cohesive Europe: Gender Equality and Women’s Rights”

Conference “For a Cohesive Europe: Gender Equality and Women’s Rights” was organised by the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council in collaboration with the Embassy of Finland and the Embassy of Croatia

Ambassador of Romania H.E. Oana-Cristina Popa welcomed attendees and said that Romani, as a presiding country of the European Union is very much concerned with values, one of them being gender equality and women’s rights.

The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, pointed out that equal rights for men and women is one of the fundamental European values, and added that International Women’s Day on 8 March is an opportunity to celebrate successes in this area, but that it is also an opportunity to reflect on what this global day means.

“For the European Union, equality is embedded in our DNA, in our agreements and policies. We can say that the European Union is a pioneer in gender equality, and this is something we should be proud of, but this should not comfort us, as there is still a lot to do,” said ambassador Fabrizi.

The European Commission adopted a five-year strategy and identified five areas in which we need to be very careful: increasing female labour-market participation and equal economic participation of women and men; reducing inequalities in earnings and pensions; promoting equality between women and men in decision-making; combating gender-based violence and protecting victims; and promoting women’s rights in all areas, said the Head of the EU Delegation. He added that data in recent years indicates an increase in women’s employment in countries of the Union, and thanked Romania for placing this topic at the forefront of its chairmanship.

H.E. Fabrizi stated that the participation of women in politics varies from 20 per cent to more than 50 per cent, and that Serbia is good on this issue, but that it needs to strengthen equality in public administration and that the law on gender equality must be adopted. The EU launched a three-year project in Serbia aimed at strengthening capacities of public administration precisely in gender equality, reminded the Ambassador.

President of the National Assembly Maja Gojković announced that the law on gender equality will be adopted by the end of the year. Without full equality, there can be no social and economic progress, said Gojković, and added that it is particularly important to combat gender discrimination in the labour market.

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović stated that sustainable development implies that every individual has a role in society and that the fight for gender equality is a fight for the rights of every individual. She concluded that it is important to fight against misogyny and added that equality of opportunity must be created in the country.