• Aditya Das

Serbian government to be one of the most gender-balanced in the world

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Ishika Somani

October 28, 2020

As of last week, the recently proposed plan for the government of Serbia poses to be one of the most gender-balanced in the world, with at least half of the ministerial posts occupied by women.

Considering that gender equality has historically been a task to achieve, particularly in western European countries, the announcement involving the selected candidates catapults the country towards a more progressive and inclusive society.

Despite this step, according to critics, this is claimed to be a barely concealed move that continues to place maximum power in President Aleksandar Vucic’s hands, who will still remain as the deciding vote, leading many to believe that women will continue to be under-represented in the political field.

In 2017, the President had elected an openly gay woman Prime Minister, officially making Ana Brnabik the first gay Prime Minister of Serbia. She, alongside the woman parliament speaker as well as the central bank, constituted almost two-fifths of the legislature of positions held by women, subsequently nearly reaching the earmarked number to qualify for their representation goals.

Ana Brnabik

(Source : Material Magazine)

Following her re-election, the President said, “Thus we’d represent our country in the best possible way and show, not in words but with action, how gender equality works in practice,” according to the BloombergQuint.

This statement was eventually followed by a series of progressive changes in the name of gender equality: he increased the number of seats in the government for women from a fifth and brought in new women ministry leaders for justice, energy and mining, labour, culture and human rights, economy, and environmental protection. The parliament is yet to approve the cabinet and is expected to in the coming weeks.

In a country controlled by the Serbian Progressive Party, loyalty is valued more over gender, claim Vucic’s rivals. Keeping in mind that these new changes accounting for the shift in the gender balance of the parliament and government are brought on by the president as opposed to Brnabic, Tanja Ignjatovic (Autonomous Women’s Centre in Belgrade) believes there is “every reason” to question if this will lead to a tangible or “essential change” in reference to gender equality.

“In Serbia, women remain under-represented in local governments -- as heads of municipalities or mayors,” Ignjatovic said, according to the BloombergQuint. “Very few of them are in the diplomatic corps and there are hardly any in security affairs.”

The primary ambition behind the new government has been to primarily build on Serbia’s plan to join the European Union soon, while simultaneously wrestling to free itself of this tiff between them and Kosovo.

Sources : (BloombergQuint, theoptimist, Material Magazine)

Edited by: Shreya Gupta and Aditya Das

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