From December 8th to 10th, 2023, the Regional Academy for Democratic Development and the Embassy of the United States in Belgrade organized the first module of a seminar focusing on involving young men in activities aimed at achieving gender equality. The event took place at Kaštel Ečka in Ečka, bringing together thirty young men aged 18 to 30 actively engaged in school and student parliaments, as well as other youth organizations.
The purpose of the seminar was to provide participants with fundamental knowledge and understanding of key issues related to gender equality, with a specific focus on the role of men in this context.
Day 1: Working Dinner
The seminar began with a working dinner on the first day, creating a relaxed atmosphere for participants to get to know each other and exchange expectations for the upcoming days.
Day 2: Diverse Sessions
In the opening remarks, Balša Božović and Holly Zardus presented the seminar’s objectives, including the BOLD program designed for young leaders across the Western Balkans. Subsequent sessions and workshops, led by Vladimir Kozbašić, addressed issues of masculinity in contemporary Serbia, analyzing gender stereotypes, traditional roles, and power distribution.
Tatjana Tabački, in a session on the fight for gender equality, explored the concepts and history of this struggle, focusing on discrimination in various societal spheres. Dejana Stošić shed light on the topic of gender-based violence, including violence in families, partnerships, and politics. Dr. Aleksandra Jerkov concluded the day by exploring why it is essential for men to participate in gender equality, raising questions about collaboration and post-seminar steps.
Day 3: Institutional Frameworks and Closing Remarks
The final day of the seminar focused on institutional mechanisms and the legislative framework for protecting gender equality. Prof. Dr. Marijana Pajvančić discussed the legislative framework, bodies, and mechanisms for protection, as well as the representation of women in decision-making positions. Prof. Dr. Svenka Savić concluded the seminar with a discussion on the role of language in shaping societal attitudes and the importance of gender-sensitive language.
Closing remarks summarized the key points of the seminar, and lunch marked the end of this inspiring event.
The first module of the seminar was a significant step towards educating and activating young men in the fight for gender equality. Diverse topics and an interactive approach fostered a deep understanding of the issues, providing participants with tools for further engagement in their communities. The seminar format facilitated informal networking and the sharing of experiences, laying the foundation for future actions and the development of projects focused on an inclusive fight for gender equality.