Ethno Network and Coordination Body for Gender Equality signed MoU

By signing the MoU, Ethno Network and Coordination Body for Gendery Equality reinforced their joint work on the empowerment of women and youth in rural areas.

            Our job is to make everything possible to foster your efforts in preservation of Serbia’s cultural heritage as you are a model to follow and improve gender equality in all other fields,” said the Deputy Prime Minister and the President of the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, Zorana Mihajlovic, addressing representatives of local crafts associations gathered under the umbrella of Ethno Network.

DPM Mihajlovic signed the MoU with Ethno Network to reinforce the joint work that began with the “1000 Women Initiative” with the aim of economic empowerment of rural women.

            I am proud to be a part of marking the two-year anniversary of the initiative that has delivered tangible results and I congratulate you on that. I invite all institutions to join us, not only as buyers of your products, but also as partners in the project,” Mihajlovic said.

Violeta Jovanovic, President of Ethno Network, emphasized that the goal of the initiative is to raise public awareness about the position of rural women, but also to help them improve their skills and ensure that the work they do is valued and paid.

            Special thanks to the Deputy Prime Minister, who is the spokesperson for gender equality in Serbia. We also invite all other institutions to join us, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because we believe that traditional Serbian products should be part of protocol gifts at our embassies around the world,” Jovanovic said.

Marija Paunovic Contos, a representative of the Panonke Association, thanked DPM Mihajlovic for recognizing core community values ​​were and promoting preservation of cultural heritage as a worthwhile job.

            Four years ago, I turned my hobby into a business, completing weaving training at Ethno Network. Working with them and thanks to the Government of Serbia, which buys our products as gifts for business partners, I was able to place on the market everything I produce. Our cultural heritage has gone around the world and I am particularly proud of that,” Contos said.

Jelena Sekulic from the UN Women Agency for Gender Equality and Womens Empowerment said that rural women were repeatedly marginalized, which equally applies to elderly or youth, girls or women with disabilities.

            Our common goal is to improve the position of women in Serbia in order for them to become equal members of our society,” Sekulic said.

Dragana Tar from the Swiss Cooperation Program emphasized that their project is supporting products with a geographical origin because they are a unique resource and Serbia is one of the few countries in Europe that still has abundant offer in this area.

          Whether we are talking about Pirot kilims or Sabac embroidered towels, gold coins, our idea is to properly reward the efforts of these women,” Tar said.

As a representative of the business community, Patricia Gannon said that when she came to Serbia from Ireland, she wanted to see as many women in business as possible, and therefore she came to demontrate support to efforts by Ethno Network.

          Creativity obviously exists, we see it in this salon, we just need more courage and support for each other,” Gannon said.

Signing of the MoU was held at the so-called Serbian Salon in the Government building in Nemanjina, which, at the initiative of DPM Mihajlovic, is equipped with traditional Serbian products made by rural women in an effort to preserve our cultural heritage.