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Presented and signed Platform of Roma Women Network about Respecting Gender Equality in the Election for the National Council of National Minorities

The public conference enitled Equal Participation of Roma Women in the National Council of Roma National Minority (NCRNM) was held in Media Center in Belgrade on October 2nd 2014.

The goal of the conference was to indicate the existence of gender inequality in representative bodies of the Republic of Serbia due to the still present exclusion of elected female members from the decision making process - despite the Law about national councils of national minorities which establishes the quota for the less represented sex which was adopted in order to correct prior exclusion of women.


About 50 people were present at the conference and among them 5 male and 2 female list leaders for the Roma national minority. By signing the Platform, the list leaders gave their support to the respect of gender equality in the future assembly of the NCRNM.
By addressing the present people at the conference, their support also showed Michael Uyehara, Acting Head of OSCE Mission in Serbia, Dragoljub Acković in front of the Office for Human and Minority Rights, Ljiljana Milutinović, the Department for Gender Equality of the Republic of Serbia, and Sofka Vasiljković, the technical mandate vice president of National Council of Roma National Minority.
The Platform was presented by Vera Kurtić, the president of the Roma Women Network board and Radmila Nešić, the coordinator of Roma Women Network.
Spokeswomen emphasized that the elected women members in the current assembly were discriminated against because the only time when the majority of women was involved in the Council activity was during the Founding Assembly, and also that the Board for gender equality of NCRNM was never formed in spite of the numerous initiatives, and that the members who took personal initiatives never got the support for their work and then gave up their efforts to improve the work of the National Council.

The Platform for Respecting of Gender Equality made by Roma Women Network, consisting of 27 Roma women organizations and initiatives in the territory of Serbia as a response to upcoming elections for National Councils on  October 26th includes requests of Roma women activists to list leaders in the election for NCRNM and which relate to respecting of candidates and respecting of gender equality, transparency and following the law in the work of NCRNM.
In the discussion part, the list leaders in the forthcoming elections also spoke to the audience.


Some of the list leaders and candidates have tried to use this event for promotion of their electoral lists, which also speaks of few opportunities for Roma national minority to address the public, but also about the evident patriarchy of Roma activist community in which the gender inequality is still marginal topic.
At the very conference, the Platform was signed by the five male and two female list leaders, as well as by the 2 candidates at the forthcoming elections, and Roma Women Network continues its work in gathering support for the Platform.

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