International Women’s Day in Serbia - Women still face double burden – at work and at home

The event Women at work: double burden shed new light on the inequalities women face in their everyday life, especially in the field of labor and domestic work

Belgrade – On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the event entitled “Women at work: double burden” shed new light on the inequalities women are faced with in their everyday life, especially in the field of labor and domestic work.

In a bid to draw attention to women’s “double burden”, the Coordination Body for Gender Equality of the Republic of Serbia, the UN Country Team in Serbia, the EU Info Center and the EU Delegation to Serbia jointly organized a panel discussion in the EU Info Center.

According to Milana Rikanovic, Head of UN Women in Serbia, women’s unpaid work has monetary value and we become aware of it only when we buy these services in the open market. “Policy makers should be aware that the time women spend on unpaid work at home is the time they do not have for academic or professional learning, for business networking or for leisure. Policies and measures should have a transformative effect and not perpetuate existing inequalities,” said Rikanovic.

Recent research shows that women work twice as much as men at home – which is in total four hours and 36 minutes per day.

Branka Draskovic, Special Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, said that women do not participate equally with men in economic and development policies despite the fact that they are educated and have skills, capacities, needs and interests. "When composing and creating legal and strategic framework, the Coordination Body for Gender Equality has for the first time managed to make these problems become an issue that will continue to permeate all the policies of the Republic of Serbia. Gender equality is not only a matter of one law, one strategy or one area of life since every law, every strategy and every area of public life concern both women and men," says Draskovic. 

Nicolas Bizel, Head of Operations of the Delegation of the European Union, stated that 8 of March is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of women, and also to bring attention to the challenges and the work that remains to be done in areas of concern, such as women in the changing world of work, with a focus on the women unpaid work, as well as on the unfair differences in wages between women and men.

A heated debate followed opening remarks, when three women with different backgrounds highlighted the potential perspectives of overcoming the traditional model of everyday life where women are “doubly employed”. Well known cartoonist Marko Somborac, winner of the “Real Man” award, contributed to the debate by offering solutions to the problem from the male perspective.

The advancement of gender equality, as one of the Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030, and the realization of women’s rights will continue to remain an important pillar of UNCT’s cooperation and support to the Government of the Republic of Serbia in the new Development Partnership Framework for Serbia for 2016-2020. A total of 10 UN Agencies are actively contributing to this outcome.

Written by
Aleksandra Stamenkovic
UNCT Communications Expert
Aleksandra Stamenkovic, United Nations Serbia
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Development Programme
International Labor Organization
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Office for Project Services