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Gender equality, as the third pillar of the Programme, was is in focus as a significant principle and an area in which activities are conducted to strengthen the institutional framework for the application of this principle at the local level, as well as to enhance local gender equality policies.
The Swiss PRO has payed a special attention to the issue of gender equality which is not only the cross-cutting Programme aspect, but a separate pillar as a matter of essential value for a society that strives to advance itself. Working on strengthening gender equality in a society directly contributes to the improvement of its overall well-being. It contributes to its economic development and strength, to its cohesion, as well as to a more balanced political functioning, especially in public policies and decision making. Empowering women in both a political and an economic sense, as one of the disadvantaged groups in modern Serbia, also serves as a major supporting process in achieving societal change. Gender equality is essential for good governance and reification of its principles in the real life and practices of public, private and civic sectors.
The Programme provided support to the local self-governments for establishing and/or strengthening local mechanisms for gender equality, which will contribute to a better position and respect for the rights of women and girls at the local level. The Programme has also supported the establishment of local Women’s Committee Networks with the aim of promoting and advocating this important topic.
The implementation of the relevant projects and activities built the capacities of local representatives, thus contributing to positive changes, the consolidation of local gender equality mechanisms and the creation of networks of councilwomen. The results of activities are visible through the improved status and knowledge of 5,706 beneficiaries in 44 LSGs.
The promotion and advocacy of gender equality in local communities were facilitated by the establishment of 31 local gender equality mechanisms, while the implementation of local gender policies adopted by 28 LSGs increased women’s equality in decision-making and a resulted in a more inclusive local budgeting process and public service delivery.
The forming of councilwomen’s networks in 30 LSGs enabled the use of the previously untapped potential for the continuous implementation of gender initiatives at the local level. A step towards the fulfilment of the common aim – improvement of gender equality - was made by encouraging and supporting cooperation of local councilwomen from different parties.