Collaboration to promote gender equality at local level
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) is currently cooperating with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia (SCTM) on a project aiming to support local governments in Serbia in the EU integration process. One of the core modules of the program is gender equality at local level. According to the project: “The topic of Gender Equality does not take up so much space in the public debate and media in Serbia, unless speaking of domestic violence.”
There are two national directives on gender equality in Serbia, namely The National Strategy for the Empowerment of Women and Promotion of Gender Equality and the Gender Equality Law. The law assigns a large share of responsibility on local authorities which gives them a responsibility to work actively in promoting gender equality.
The European Charter for Equality of women and men in local life has been signed by 11 Serbian municipalities. To further develop this work, the program aims to:
- Strengthen the capacity of technical services of SCTM for creating and implementing measures to promote equality;
- Enhance the capacities of cities and municipalities in Serbia and local bodies for gender equality;
- Promote a concept of gender equality in public and raise awareness in regard to this issue.
In addition to these goals, several other activities will take place, such as different training courses, initiatives to promote the European Charter for Equality, capacity development of local gender equality mechanisms and assistance in developing and implement gender equality action plans. During 2014, SALAR and SCTM will arrange similar gender mainstreaming trainings based upon the European Charter for Equality, to be able to compare and learn from similarities and differences in the two countries.
The main facilitator for this extensive battery of gender activities is a specific task force put together by gender experts, politicians, municipal representatives and SCTM staff, called the SCTM Gender Working Group. A lot of resources such as training, a study visit to Swedish municipalities and other form of capacity building have been invested in this working group, which is now being put into action. The Gender Working Group is an important resource for other SCTM policies such as EU-accession, business development and environmental issues.
The Gender Working Group is also preparing a new gender policy for SCTM, based upon input from municipalities and NGOs, citizenship dialogue and expert support from national, SCTM and SALAR gender experts. The policy will be up for decision at the SCTM general assembly in December 2013, and will guide the future efforts of SCTM and SALAR in their mutual cooperation to promote gender equality at the local level.
For more information please consult the website of the programme: http://euintegracije.skgo.org/en/submodules/index/3