Swiss PRO
  • Government of the Republic of Serbia
  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • UNOPS
  • Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM)

What we do / Gender equality

Gender equality, as the third pillar of the Programme, is in focus as a significant principle and an area in which activities are conducted to strengthen the institutional framework for the application of this principle at the local level, as well as to enhance local gender equality policies.

The Swiss PRO pays a special attention to the issue of gender equality which is not only the cross-cutting Programme aspect, but a separate pillar as a matter of essential value for a society that strives to advance itself. Working on strengthening gender equality in a society directly contributes to the improvement of its overall well-being. It contributes to its economic development and strength, to its cohesion, as well as to a more balanced political functioning, especially in public policies and decision making. Empowering women in both a political and an economic sense, as one of the disadvantaged groups in modern Serbia, also serves as a major supporting process in achieving societal change. Gender equality is essential for good governance and reification of its principles in the real life and practices of public, private and civic sectors.

The Programme provides support to the local self-governments for establishing and/or strengthening local mechanisms for gender equality, which will contribute to a better position and respect for the rights of women and girls at the local level. The Programme also supports the establishment of local Women’s Committee Networks with the aim of promoting and advocating this important topic.

An example of good practice in the area of gender equality

In order to promote the gender equality agenda and provide specific support for improving women’s rights and their political and economic empowerment, the Programme which preceded the Swiss PRO - the European PROGRES, developed and conducted a specific activity aimed at supporting establishment of women parliamentarian networks in 15 municipal assemblies.

The idea behind this project was to capacitate the women-members of local parliaments, who are coming from different political options, to learn how to advocate for women rights and their empowerment, and to act from that position as united, when local policies where discussed and enacted that may have either positive or adverse consequences for local women.

In one municipality, the just-established local women parliamentarian network did not confine itself only to fighting for women’s rights in the front- or backbenches of the local assembly, but took a concrete action to empower an especially vulnerable women group – women from rural areas.

The network acted in a concrete and coordinated manner, as “one”, by lobbying and acquiring the necessary funds and resources from different sources, which resulted in securing the livelihood for a number of rural women, who were previously struggling just barely to make ends meet.