Serbia’s new government is among the world’s most gender-balanced, with women named to half of the ministerial posts, according to Bloomberg.
“The lineup, announced Sunday, propels Serbia to the brink of the global top 10 for gender equality — an issue that has typically been higher on the agenda of western European countries. Still, critics say that even with the appointments, President Aleksandar Vucic will call all the shots and women remain under-represented in local politics,” Bloomberg says.
Serbia was already something of an outlier. Vucic selected openly gay Ana Brnabic as the country’s first female prime minister in 2017, while the posts of parliament speaker and central bank governor are also held by women.
Almost two-fifths of the 250 parliamentary seats are held by women, nearing a representation target set before the June general election, Bloomberg reports.
Brnabic raised the proportion of women in the government up from a fifth. Some of the new arrivals include women leading ministries for the economy, justice, energy and mining, environmental protection, labour, culture and human rights. Parliament is expected to approve the cabinet in the coming week, Bloomberg says.
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Vucic’s opponents say loyalty trumps gender in a country that’s dominated by his Serbian Progressive Party.
With the shifting gender balance of the new parliament and government driven by the president, rather than by Brnabic, there’s “every reason” to question whether it will bring “essential change” in equality, said Tanja Ignjatovic of the Autonomous Women’s Center in Belgrade.
“In Serbia, women remain under-represented in local governments — as heads of municipalities or mayors,” Ignjatovic said. “Very few of them are in the diplomatic corps and there are hardly any in security affairs.”
Vucic has countered that women are “equally competent, even more competent to perform the most important state jobs.”
(Blic, Bloomberg, 26.10.2020)
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