Commitment to the present and investment in the future

Commitment to the present and investment in the future

NGO Atina motivated and supported the formation of youth feminist clubs called "With and for Girls."

The Association Atina, an organisation with extensive experience advocating for women's rights in Serbia, launched the initiative "With girls and for girls" by utilising youth feminist activism as a generator to initiate social change. The impact of this initiative exceeded individual development and encouraged youth activists to become catalysts of a broader social transformation towards a society that fully respects women's rights.

The initiative "With and for girls", as a counterpoint to the existing conditions in society, aims at providing a space for girls to connect closely through specific female experiences, thereby building a safe and supportive atmosphere for girls. The position of girls and women in Serbia is complex because they live in insecure circumstances, primarily under political pressure and in an economically impoverished environment. The rights that are in force, guaranteed by law, must be regained repeatedly and not taken for granted, especially regarding women's social and economic rights. Despite the existence of legislation and policies that promote gender equality, women are underrepresented in decision-making in all spheres of social, economic and political life in Serbia.

In cooperation with local partners from Novi Sad, Belgrade, Novi Pazar, Čačak and Vranje, Atina gathered 105 girls aged 16 to 26 and established informal clubs that serve as safe spaces for learning, connecting and empowering female activists.

The initiative included ten training sessions and over 70 mentoring sessions, during which topics focused on overcoming gender stereotypes and exploring possible solutions to girls' challenges were discussed. In addition, the participants expanded their knowledge about gender-based violence, digital violence and the reproductive health of the young. Through the mentoring process, club members developed advocacy and negotiation skills while preparing themselves for meetings with decision-makers and learning how to prepare action plans for implementing local initiatives. These skills have strengthened a safe support network among youth activists and their partners. In this way, a platform was provided for girls to explore women's experiences, discuss current problems and formulate strategies for local actions to achieve positive social changes. "Atina's project not only empowers feminists but sensitises entire communities to recognise and support women's rights, creating an environment in which every woman is seen and acknowledged," notes Iva Đolović, a mentor who worked with activists in the youth program "With and for girls" in the previous year. The project's ultimate goal is to build and empower a new generation of feminists for long-term activist actions that contribute to gender equality and create a more inclusive and just society.

This news was created as part of the project "Initiative of young feminist advocates in Serbia", which has been implemented by the Citizens' Association Atina with the support of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade, in cooperation with the organisation Schüler Helfen Leben (SHL).