In Belgrade, on December 17, 2018, the founding assembly of the Network of Policewomen of the Republic of Serbia was held. The ceremony in the Palace of Serbia was attended by over 200 representatives of all police administrations of the Ministry of Interior.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior Biljana Popović Ivković, at the opening assembly, reminded that the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and the Minister of the Interior, Dr. Nebojša Stefanović, strongly supported the establishment of the Network and continued to advocate for the equality of women in the police.
"We provide full support for women to take a step with the men, who still make the majority in our Ministry, through an equal opportunity for professional development and competition for work in various police jobs. Women in the daily life of the police face different, difficult and challenging situations and they are always there to provide help to the citizens and to support them, "said Popović Ivković.
She thanked the Swedish Government and the Swedish police for their cooperation on this project, reminding that Sweden was one of the leaders among the Western countries to respect the principles of gender equality. The State Secretary also emphasized that the Network of Policewomen will strongly fight against verbal and physical violence, which has been continually being present in our society.
Police Director Vladimir Rebic emphasized the great role of women in police work, stressing that the issue of gender equality in the police is the issue of the quality of work and the achievement of the objectives of the police because women contribute significantly to better work, especially with vulnerable target groups, women victims of violence. He expressed his determination to include as many women as possible in the future in the work of the police and to increase the number of women in leadership positions in the Serbian police with the current only 18%. "Forming a Women's Network in the Police is a major step in respecting a policy of equal opportunities with the tendency to reduce prejudice that women are unable to perform all police tasks. The police are developing into a democratic institution that respects all human rights and above all the right to equality. Women's network is important not only for improving the position of women in this predominantly male environment, but also for improving the work of the police itself and for better response to all security challenges. The greater presence of women means greater trust in the police. "Rebic said.
Joakim Vern, deputy head of the mission at the Swedish Embassy in Belgrade, pointed out that Sweden is still making a lot of efforts to establish a gender balance, and especially in the situations of the challenges facing the problem of the large number of migrants to be familiar with the way in which Swedish society functions. He stressed the commitment of Sweden to continue supporting the Ministry of the Interior as much as possible in the coming period, as they are aware of the extent to which the gender agenda is a major and significant part of the overall reform process. "Not only does equal opportunities for women lead to a more equal society, but there is a clear link between the development of society and, in particular, economic development and equality of women. Research shows that reforms that include a gender equality component also lead to sustainable development.
She also assessed that the presence of a large number of men, police officers at the Founding Assembly says that the Ministry of the Interior recognizes that this is not only a women's issue, but a question of social development and the issue of the quality of police work.
"I am convinced that this network will contribute to improving the position of women and understanding their role, because today's security challenges, risks and threats do not give us the right to renounce any member or members of our society and not use it potential of all, "Jankovic said.
She added that, according to the latest survey of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, the citizens recognize the police as someone to whom, in addition to the institutions of the Commissioner, they believe most about the protection against discrimination.
"With the visibility of women in the police, we want to send a message to citizens to apply for a police job and that they will be provided with system support through the necessary training and education," Simic said.
Network of Policewomen is an independent, voluntary and non-partisan Association of Police Officers of the Ministry of Interior. It supports the values by which every woman has the opportunity to realize her potential and thus contribute to the efficient functioning of the Ministry, with full respect for diversity and non-discrimination through preventive work and adequate response to such phenomena.
The Women's Network affirms the role, position and importance of women in the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia, through: raising the awareness of employees in the MOI, promoting gender-based perspectives in work, education on gender issues, empowering all work and career progression through mentoring, training and promotion the results of work as well as providing advice to women employees in the Ministry dealing with discrimination issues.
In addition to the aforementioned activities, the Women's Network in the Police also plays a role in working with the competent institutions and organizations, non-governmental and international organizations, to improve the safety of women in society.