Monday, August 03, 2020

vanja macanovic hagVanja Macanović at the Dutch Women's CouncilThe PrEUgovor coalition organized a study visit to The Hague on 24th and 25th of April, which was attended by Vanja Macanović from the Autonomous Women's Center. During the visit, the topics such as the rule of law and the influence of European integration on the reforms in the chapters 23 and 24 were discussed.

Members of the Coalition visited the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Serbian Embassy in the Netherlands, where there was discussed on the Netherlands' attitude towards Serbia and its activities in the process of negotiations on joining the European Union.

Additionally, Vanja Macanovic visited the Women's shelter in the Hague where she spoke with the Shelter coordinator about their mode of work and the support they have from the city (The Hague allocates 3 million euros annually for the work of several shelters and accompanying social protection services). The shelter has more than 100 employees per 24 beds in the Safe House at the publicly known address, six apartments at secret locations for high-risk cases, a Shelter for the elderly and a Shelter for homeless people (the unique organization of the Shelter in The Hague was formed by the association of several organizations that led different types of shelters). As there are no Centers for social welfare in the Netherlands, social workers in the Safe House perform the majority of entrusted social protection tasks when it comes to women victims of violence, including organizing meetings with their violent partners and attempting to negotiate for the most optimum model of seeing minor children (except in high risk cases). Women with children can remain in the Safe House for up to a year, during which they receive support to apply for social housing, where they subsequently move if they decide to leave the violent partner.

Vanja Macanovic also visited the Dutch Women's Council, the umbrella network of women's organizations in the Netherlands, where she was explained how the situation for women's organizations in the Netherlands worsened than it was before. The Ministry of Education allocates less and less funds for their work, and while previously they had significant financial support from the state, this support is now missing. The state requested that women NGO’s organize themsleves into consortium of organizations by the topics and they now receive funds exclusively for working on these topics. There are no envisaged quotas for the less represented sex in the Parliament, which results in a small number of female deputies in the Dutch Parliament. This country also faces a small number of women in the governing boards of large companies and generally in decision-making positions. Data in the Netherlands show that about 40% of women economically dependent on their partners because they either do not work or work on part-time jobs. Unemployment in the Netherlands is about 3%, and for women victims of violence, if they decide to return to the labor market, it is easier to find a job. Most employees in the Netherlands are contracted for one year, and long lasting employment contracts do not longer exist. Women's organizations are concerned that the views of average Dutch people in relation to the problem of violence against women remain very traditionalistic, as shown by their latest, recently published research.