In collaboration with NALED and Ethno Network, the Government of Serbia’s Gender Equality Coordination Body has launched an initiative for 1,000 women, living in rural areas, to find employment in the next year that would involve making traditional handicrafts, as well as business and diplomatic gifts.
Serbian Deputy PM and the Chairwoman of the Coordination Body, Zorana Mihajlovic invited both the state and private sector to partake in the initiative in order for as many women in rural areas to find employment.
“Their job will be what they are already doing – making handicrafts which I, in my capacity of a Serbian minister and Deputy PM, order when I have prominent officials coming to Serbia”, Mihajlovic said at the launch of the initiative.
She also pointed out that 60% of these women are not entitled to state pensions, while only a small percentage of them (only 12%) own property which makes it very difficult for them to launch businesses or obtain bank loans.
Executive Director of NALED and President of Ethno Network, Violeta Jovanovic says that women in rural areas are untapped potential in terms of social and economic development of the areas they live in that could be used towards preservation of villages and promotion of cultural heritage.
“The voice of these women is rarely heard because they are not recognized as a big marginal group but rather a quiet army in rural communities”, Jovanovic says and adds: “In the following year or so, we want to secure jobs for 1,000 women that would last at least three months. In order for a woman to generate additional income for her household, she needs to produce and sell 14 handicrafts of medium complexity (up to 40 hours of work). With that in mind, we would like to invite socially responsible organizations to join us and support our 1,000 women.”
Apart from buying authentic handicrafts of women who have joined Ethno Network, the support can be provided in the shape of assistance with designing and packaging for their products, as well as promotion, holding specialized training and workshops for children and young people, while towns and municipalities could support this employment initiative through gender-based budgeting and opening of ethno-galleries.
The initiative is supported by the Norwegian ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Arne Bjornstad, Vladimir Marinković, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Frederic Aubet, Director General of the company CRH and other representatives of the business community, institutions and the diplomatic corps.
(RTS, Plus Online, 16.06.2017)
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