Increasing the percentage of representation of women in the councils of local communities in the city of Pirot

The project “Let women be heard” implemented by the organization Women of the South with the support of the Swiss government through the program “For an active civil society together – ACT”, achieved a significant result through the change in the representation of women in local community councils, which changed from the previous 2.83% to 30%. The change was achieved by the Women of the South through an advocacy project and the amendment of Article 20 of the Law, which now states: “Mandatory representation of 30% of women in local community councils.” The initiative to amend Article 20 was accepted and adopted at the session of the Pirot City Assembly.”

Milena Dimitrijević, president of the Pirot City Assembly and president of the council for gender equality, said today that it is very important for the civil sector to cooperate with the local self-government, which the Women of the South organization has proven through the initiative to change the law on the representation of women.

Melina Papageorgiou, the first secretary of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, said that the establishment of such a mechanism for gender equality in local communities in Pirot can be transferred to other municipalities throughout Serbia through the support of the civil sector to implement these changes.

Snežana Mišić Mihajlović, team leader of the ACT project, emphasized the importance of the support of the Swiss Government in efforts to strengthen the democratic potential in Serbia and added that the supported organizations in Pirot have excellent initiatives that are best achieved through cross-sectoral cooperation with the state administration and the private sector.

Marija Penčić, president of the Board of Directors of the Women of the South organization, said that the change would not have happened without the support of the ACT project and the Swiss Government, the support of the President of the Assembly, as well as the network of sister organizations that, through the activities of the “Let women be heard” project, empowered women in rural areas and explained to them that just as they have the strength and skills to lead a household, they have enough strength to participate in political processes at the community level and bring about changes.