Results of the Analysis on correlation between gender stereotypes and gender-based violence were presented

On December 20, 2018, the International Human Solidarity Day, at Journalists’ Association of Serbia NGO „Atina“ presented Survey and Analysis on correlation between gender stereotypes and gender-based violence as a part of the project „With and for the girls – Support to local Youth Offices in raising awareness in the area of gender equality“, with support of UNFPA – United Nations Population Fund. These activities are carried out within the project „Integrated Response to Violence against Women and Girls in Serbia II“, that has been implemented jointly by UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA and UNDP, in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, headed by the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, with support of  Government of Sweden.

The survey was conducted in five towns in Serbia – Belgrade (Obrenovac), Vranje, Novi Pazar, Kikinda and Jagodina, and data was collected through questionnaire filled out by senior year girls from specialized and arts and humanities high schools (age 18 and 19). The main purpose od the survey was to get insight into the experience of young girls, as well as their attitudes on gender roles and gender-based violence. 

76% of the surveyors believe that a woman can become entirely fulfilled only if she becomes a mother, that is, the woman has a value only if she assumes that role. Aside from having a strong normative that the major role of a woman is to be a mother, 95% of them endorse „the sacrificing parenting model“ i.e. considers that a mother should sacrifice herself for her children.  Similarly, when it comes to partner relationships, equal percentage of girls believe that a woman should not tolerate everything for the sake of the marriage, which is contradictory to the previous claim.  However, it is not in opposition to practice which shows that they, in majority of cases, would neither report the violence they are suffering nor leave the violent partner. Findings reveal that family is the primary surroundings where one learns about “gender roles“ and  practices them, and that there is a potential (at surveyed age) to change “the understanding“ of these roles, thereby overcome the patriarchal family patterns. 

As for key issues girls face in local communities, the biggest number of surveyors indicate to difficulties arising from the social norms, the ones that boil down to stereotypical gender roles.  Over ¾ of the surveyors claim they have experienced gender molding, i.e. situations when their certain attitudes, activities or behavior was disputed only because they are girls. Here they emphasize the practice of their community to condemn them for their „gender atypical“ attitudes. Moreover, they are disputed since “due to their physical and cognitive features, for example, can not play chess or drive a car just because they are women“.  An important finding is that majority of surveyors does not know if there would be less problems across the globe if there were more women in politics, which corresponds with the finding that the small percentage of them has the opportunity to talk openly about politics in schools, or to discuss it with friends, especially to talk about women in politics. It is encouraging that a huge number of girls is eager to learn more about this. 

Girls believe that the equality of women and men should be top priority in our society (92% of girls agree with this statement), and that education is key to gender equality and enhancement of women’s position, especially development and the implementation of gender sensitive curricula (what is more, 69% of girls stated that they do not talk about well-known women.  As their role models, girls cited Desanka Maksimovic, Nadezda Petrovic, Milunka Savic, but they also affirmed they are not familiar with women in other areas such as science, politics, etc.

The survey presented at this conference is a part of wider efforts to improve the position of the girls and the youth politics, as well as to strengthen local Youth Offices, that NGO “Atina” provides not only in this project, but also in its wider long-winded work on improving gender equality and creating equal opportunities for all.