A Member of Women’s Room, Maja Vukmanić Rajter, coordinator of Centre for Victims of Sexual Violence, held a public Lecture “Violence Against Women” on 29 April 2014 in Small Hall in Osijek.

The aim of this lecture was to inform the participants on basic concepts related to inequality of women and violence against women.

The lecture was held with support of the Commission for Gender Equality of Osijek-Baranja County, as part of the project “My Voice Against Violence” conducted by the Office for Gender Equality of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, which is funded by European Union (as part of the Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity – PROGRESS). Women’s Room and CESI – Centre for Education, Counselling and Research are partner organizations on the project “My Voice Against Violence”.

On the same day, a half-day workshop “Prevention of Violence Against Women” was held in the Centre for Professional Rehabilitation in Osijek, also as part of the “My Voice Against Violence” project. Antonija Hojt Ilić, from Women’s Room, held the half-day workshop for rural and unemployed women. Through interactive activities she informed the participants on various forms of violence against women, as well as myths and prejudice related to violence. She particularly pointed out the methods and process of reporting violence to relevant institutions.

CESI organization, in cooperation with organization K-zona, Radio Kaj and Association of Women HERA are conducting the project “European Opportunities for Rural Women” in Zagreb County, Krapina-Zagorje County and Koprivnica-Križevci County.

The goal of the project is to inform the women from rural areas about the opportunities that come with the membership to the European Union, and to make them aware of their contribution to the EU. The project is funded by the European Union, as part of the IPA INFO 2012 programme and co-funded by Government’s Office for Cooperation with NGOs.

Since at the moment many municipalities, cities and counties are in the process of developing strategic plans that will serve as the basis for withdrawing EU funds, it is of great importance to include gender perspective into those plans. It is important to include interests and needs of women into the development plans and strategic documents. Women living in rural areas are in much worse position because of economic dependency, poor traffic connections and lack of educational opportunities, as well as employment opportunities. Gender awareness of the rural sector is the key strategy of the European Union, not only for promoting equality of men and women, but also for economic development and sustainability of the rural area.

Precisely in order to promote gender-sensitive local policies and the exchange of good practices in creation of local development strategies, a round table in Pregrada is organized by CESI in collaboration with the Commission for Gender Equality of Krapina-Zagorje County. The round table will be held on 29 April 2014 in Pregrada City Hall at 6 p.m.

Participants of the round table will be: Višnja Ljubičić, Ombudsperson for Gender Equality, Anđelko Ferek-Jambrek, Deputy County Prefect, Marko Vešligaj, Mayor of Pregrada, Sanja Cesar, programme manager in CESI, Helena Matuša, deputy manager, ZARA, Ivana Radanović, the Network of Associations Zagor, and the representative of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds. The moderator of the round table will be Tajana Broz from CESI and the Commission for Gender Equality of Krapina-Zagorje County.

As part of the project “Safe Zone” conducted by Women’s Room – Centre for Sexual Rights (Zagreb) and its partner organizations S.O.S. – Counseling, Empowerment, Collaboration (Virovitica), Centre for Women Adela (Sisak) and Centre for Support and Development of Civil Society “Delfin” (Pakrac), a two-day follow-up meeting was held from 22 to 23 April, 2014 in Višnjica.

The meeting gave a brief overview of the project and presented the results achieved in the last two years. Antonija Hojt Ilić and Maja Vukmanić Rajter from Women’s Room presented several notable achievements. They also pointed out excellent cooperation and networking between similar organisations of civil society and local actors who provide social services for victims of gender-based violence in the areas of special state concern, as result of which eight Memorandums of Cooperation were signed, and an informal network was established. Several activities aimed at strengthening the capacity and quality of work were conducted for organizations which daily deal with women victims of violence. The development and implementation of minimal standards in the activities of organizations, which provide direct help and support for women victims of violence, as well as launching of web site www.sigurnomjesto.hr, were highlighted as the backbone of the project. The web site provides quick and easy access to all information for women victims of violence through a highly functional search engine. It also contains all the necessary information on how to recognize and report violence, how to get out of violence, and information on rights and laws.

Individuals and organizations that helped the project are: the President of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipović, the Croatian Rugby Federation, Zagreb Rugby Federation, Croatia Men’s National Handball Team, and many celebrities from the world of theatre, film, music and politics.

Although the “Safe Zone” project is coming to its end, the project team achieved significant results and initiated long-term changes that still require full attention of relevant actors in order to fight the violence against women.

A meeting of feminists from Croatia and Serbia titled “Feminist Ethics of Responsibility in Different Political Contexts – Serbia and Croatia” was held from 24 to 27 April 2014 in Poreč. The Centre for Civic Initiatives Poreč and Women in Black Belgrade organizes the meeting, as part of the project funded by Mediterranean Women’s Fund.

The four-day meeting is part of the activities conducted by feminists from former Yugoslavia, with the goal of organizing the Women’s Court – Feminist Approach to Justice, which will be held in spring, 2015 in Sarajevo.

The meeting in Poreč will gather feminists from Serbia and Croatia who take part in organizing the Women’s Court. They will discuss the context in which various violations of women’s human rights occur. This conceptualisation is important for the Women’s Court because it analyses the conditions in which feminists work, analyses state policies toward dealing with the past and establishing justice for women war victims, as well as policies relating to women and poverty, and gender-based violence.

The forum “European Parliament: 50/50 – Will This Year Be Any Different?” on gender equality in politics was held on 17 April 2014 in Cultural and Information Centre (KIC) in Zagreb, in the light of the elections for the European Parliament. The forum is part of the series of forums “In Women’s Company”.

The introductory note was given by the Ombudsperson for gender equality Višnja Ljubičić. She pointed out that equal participation of both women and men on positions responsible for important political and economic decisions is important for a democratic society. Problems in the implementation of legal provisions indicate the lack of political will to establish real gender equality, as opposed to the formal one. Ljubičić pointed out that political quotas in Croatia (40% of underrepresented gender on the list of candidates) which are determined by the Law on gender equality, are still being debated on/or not respected at all.

Given that in the management structures in Croatia only 9% of supervisory board presidents are women and only 11% of administrative board presidents are women, it is up to us to follow the initiative of Vivian Reading and the European Commission for implementation of quotas, in order to increase the representation of women to 30-40% on the boards of companies majority-owned by the state, by the year 2020. Studies have shown that it takes 3-4 election cycles based on quotas in order to achieve visible balance of genders. After that, some countries, for example Denmark, abolished quotas because they didn’t have the need for them anymore.

Andrea Feldman (Sustainable Development of Croatia OraH Party), Karolina Leaković (Social Democratic Party of Croatia – SDP), Margareta Mađerić (Croatian Democratic Union – HDZ) and Jozo Radoš (Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats – HNS) also participated in the discussion.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a round table on the Bill on Rights of Victims of Sexual Violence in the Homeland War was held on 14 April 2014 in Hotel Dubrovnik in Zagreb.

The Minister of Veteran’s Affairs Predrag Matić and the representative of UNDP Louisa Vintona gave the introductory note, while the Deputy Minister of Veteran’s Affairs Bojan Glavašević presented the Bill. The research with the goal of estimating the number of victims and the effects of various forms of financial compensation was also presented on the round table. Branka Galić, Dragan Bagić and Ozren Žunec from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences presented the research conducted in 2013, which defined the profile and estimated the number of victims of sexual violence in Croatia, as well as implications of compensation for victims. Ombudsperson for gender equality Višnja Ljubičić, who was a member of the working group for drafting the Law, also participated on the round table.

The round table was organized as part of the joint project of The Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs, Women in Homeland War Association and UNDP. The Swiss Government and UN Women support the project, with the goal of ensuring that the victims of sexual violence get the compensation and support they need.

In the light of the upcoming elections for the European Parliament, the forum titled “European Parliament: 50/50 – Will This Year Be Any Different?” is organized in Cultural and Information Centre (KIC), in Preradovićeva Street, number 5, Zagreb. The forum will discuss gender equality in politics and will be held on 17 April 2014, at 7 p.m.

Even though the European Parliament supports gender equality, it is not certain how much Croatian parties support that issue. It also remains to be seen in which ways women politicians will support women issues and how they will motivate women voters.

Andrea Feldman (Sustainable Development of Croatia OraH Party), Karolina Leaković (Social Democratic Party of Croatia – SDP), Višnja Ljubičić, Ombudsperson for gender equality, Margareta Mađerić (Croatian Democratic Union – HDZ) and Jozo Radoš (Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats – HNS) will also participate on the forum.

The forum will be held as one of the series of forums “In Women’s company”. The moderator will be Danijela Stanojević, journalist on Croatian National Television and Voxfeminae.net portal.

Admission is free of charge.

For the first time in Krapina-Zagorje County, Centre for Education, Counselling and Research (CESI) from Zagreb organizes a series of workshops for unemployed women in Zabok, starting 30 April 2014. Through ten interactive group sessions, women will receive full training for active job search, as well as for development of their communication skills and personal efficiency.

The themes which will be covered by the workshops are: communication skills, non-verbal communication, assertion, negotiation, job interview, writing of resume and motivation letters, dealing with nervousness, presentational skills, personal efficiency, goal and time management. As part of the programme, legal advice on workers’ and social rights will be provided, as well as advice on discrimination on the labour market.

If you are interested, you can apply by calling one of the following telephone numbers +385 1 24 22 800, +385 95 1997 038, or by e-mail cesi@cesi.hr until 24 April 2014. After you apply, you will get the schedule and all other necessary information about the workshops. The workshop is limited to 10 participants.

The project is organized in collaboration with the Croatian Employment Service (District Office Zagreb) and is part of CESI’s long-term efforts to enable equal possibilities for women on the labour market.

GIP International and The Embassy of Netherlands financially support the project.

LGBTIQ Initiative of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb AUT will organize a forum “Feminism and Pornography – A Love Story”. The forum will be held on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 at 8 p.m. on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb (Ivana Lučića 3), in lecture room 3.

The connection between feminism and pornography has always been a contesting issue, and precisely for that reason it was necessary to open this discussion. Throughout the history of feminist theory and practice, pornography has always had ambiguous status – some feminists wanted to ban pornography, some to (secretly) watch it, while others wanted to make it. While conservative critics present pornography as a harmful and immoral vice which destroys the sanctity of marriage and sexual purity, and some liberal critics point out the representation of woman and sexual and gender minorities in pornographic films, the participants of the forum discuss pornography through feminist, film and alternative lenses, trying to find in it some space for subversive resistance, visual celluloid pleasure, or practical realisation of feminist theory.

Participants of the forum and titles of their lectures are as follows: Asja Bakić, poet, feminist and porn activist: A Feminist Introduction to Mainstream Pornography; Mario Kozina, film critic and expert on pornographic genres of the seventies: Pornography and Gay Identity of the Seventies; Anja Plazonja, student of Russian Language and Comparative Literature: Feminist Pornography.

Everyone is invited to participate in the forum.

The Health and Social Policy Committee of the Croatian Parliament held its 49th  thematic session on “Legal and Health Protection of Transsexual, Transgender and Gender-Variable People in the Republic of Croatia”. The session was held in Croatian Parliament on 9 April 2014.

Representatives of various civil society organizations and state institutions participated the session and discussed the making of Regulation on the method on the collecting medical documentation and determining the terms and conditions of a sex change or life in a different gender identity.

The goal of the session was to familiarize all the relevant institutions and the general public in the Republic of Croatia with this topic.

Participants of the session were representatives of the relevant ministries, representatives of the Ombudsperson, Ombudsperson for Gender Equality, Members of Parliament, representatives of the organizations Trans Aid, Women’s Room and Kontra, as well as clinical psychologist Iva Žegura, Head of the Committee Romana Jerković, professor from Amsterdam Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis and professor Miroslav Đorđević, surgeon from Serbia.

Participants concluded that transgender, transsexual and gender non-conforming people are facing various obstacles and therefore need full support from their community and from society as a whole in order to gain their fundamental human rights and freedom. Comprehensive legal and health care in the Republic of Croatia should be implemented with high-quality professional and ethical care. Professor of pediatric urology from Belgrade, Miroslav Đorđević, pointed out the need for cooperation between countries, exchange of experience and interdisciplinary approach to the problem which is the key to protecting the rights of trans* people in the Republic of Croatia.