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Gender training in Serbia brings progressives together

During the weekend of 26 to 28 October, Foundation Max van der Stoel, in collaboration with the Centre of Modern Skills (CMV) a gender training programme for progressive parties and movements in Serbia that is part of the Alliance for Serbia, a new opposition movement. FMS trainers Jamila Aanzi and Sonja Lokar travelled to Vojvodina province to conduct the training.

Twenty-one women from different parts of the country participated in the training with the hope of improving their political skills, providing cooperation on the left and putting gender issues higher on their political party's agenda. While more and more women are entering the political arena - 34% of parliamentarians are women (NL: 35.3%) - the challenges remain enormous: violence against women, position in the labour market, income inequality and the lack of knowledge and awareness about gender issues. Rural women in particular are in a position of dependency and are often marginalised. Our partner in Serbia has been working for years to improve the position of women by building capacity through training but also by campaigning and mobilising activists.

The Alliance for Serbia is a new alliance of a number of prominent opposition parties and social movements in Serbia. It aims to bring together the fragmented opposition and form an alternative to the authoritarian regime of President Aleksandar Vucic. Despite Serbia taking concrete steps in the EU integration process, rule of law and democracy have weakened in recent years. To reverse this trend, the opposition will have to work better together.