Zene u crnom
Women, security, reproductive rights and transitional justice PDF Print E-mail


The goal of the research entitled Women, security, reproductive rights and transitional justice, which was carried out within the project Women, peace, security was:
1) to gain insight into the attitudes of the socially and politically engaged women in Serbia concerning human security of women
2) to establish to which extent this population is informed concerning the basic terms and facts relevant for women’s human security, reproductive rights and transitional justice.
The research was carried out in the form of a questionnaire on a targeted sample of 894 women from all over Serbia. Among them, 292 defined themselves as activists of civil society, 380 as party activists (DS, G17+ and LDP) , while 221 answered by circling “the other.” As far as education is concerned, 24 respondents finished elementary school, 227 women graduated from high school, 478 respondents completed some form of higher education, and 53 had achieved an MA or a PhD. Obviously, this educational structure differs significantly from the average population (as well as from the average female population) in Serbia, therefore we can say the questionnaire encompassed the politically and/or socially engaged part of the elite female population. The same can be said about their quality of life: 88 (9,8%) of the respondents said their quality of life is poor, 318 (35,6%) described it as bearable, 359 (40,2%) stated it is good, 117 (13,1%) respondents said it was very good and 5 described it as great (7 respondents did not answer this question). On the other hand, information about age and, to a lesser extent, status structure are much closer to the general average in the female population: 104 respondents are younger than 25, 322 women are between 25 and 35 years old, 334 are between 35 and 50 years old, while 312 are over the age of 50. There are 177 unemployed women, 215 are temporarily employed or find work from time to time, 446 are fully employed, and there are 50 pensioners. In total, this structure adequately represents women-activists in Serbia, at least those women who are active in civic oriented circles and in democratically oriented political parties.

General data

 

identity

education

status

age

quality of life

a

292

24

177

104

88

b

380

337

215

322

318

c

221

478

446

334

359

d

 

53

50

132

117

e

       

5

 

1

2

6

2

7

Data in percentages

  identity education soc.status age qual. of life

 

 
A

32.7

2.7

13.2

11.6

9.8

 
B

42.6

37.7

24

36

35.6

sample

C

24.7

53.5

49.9

37.4

40.2

894

D  

5.9

5.6

14.8

13.1

 
E        

0.6

 
No response

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.2

0.8

 

The questionnaire contained four groups of questions. The first group (five questions) aimed at acquiring data concerning basic characteristics of respondents; the second group (10 questions on human security) aimed at gaining insight into the attitudes of the respondents on security and the social position of women (with the exception of question no. 4 which was to portray a dimension of personal experience of the respondents and no. 7 which verified how informed the respondents are concerning the UNSCR 1325); the third group (five questions) partly verified how informed the respondents are concerning reproductive rights (first two questions) and partly served to gain insight into their attitudes on the issue (the remaining three questions); the fourth group of questions related to how knowledgeable the respondents are concerning the basic terms of transitional justice (except with question no. 3 which inquired into the attitudes of the respondents about the meaning and goal of transitional justice). Bringing in a set of questions on reproductive rights can be justified by a globally established organic connection between issues of human security of women and reproductive rights, while questions concerning transitional justice can be justified by the specific context of post-conflict Serbia, where implementing transitional justice represents a necessary condition for establishing a democratic society.

Human security

 

threat pers safety

limitations

form of violence

report

factors

most trust

least trust

UNSCR 1325

women represent

30% women

obstacles

a

273

135

614

229

66

249

41

261

413

473

139

b

30

456

76

620

206

133

54

595

262

370

401

c

116

70

177

 

130

47

38

 

179

35

224

d

119

212

   

185

31

314

     

64

e

56

     

233

68

172

     

33

f

50

     

39

194

38

     

15

g

52

     

13

57

18

       

h

86

       

81

94

       

i

15

                   

j

14

                   

k

67

                   
No response

16

21

27

45

22

34

125

38

40

16

18

 

Human security

  threat pers s limits form of violence reports factors most trust least trust 1325 wom. repr. 30% obstacles

A

30.5

15.1

68.7

25.6

7.4

27.9

4.6

29.2

46.2

52.9

15.5

B

3.4

51

8.5

69.4

23

14.9

6

66.6

29.3

41.4

44.9

C

13

7.8

19.8

 

14.5

5.3

4.3

 

20

3.9

25.1

D

13.3

23.7

   

20.7

3.5

35.1

     

7.2

E

6.3

     

26.1

7.6

19.2

     

3.7

F

5.6

     

4.4

21.7

4.3

     

1.7

G

5.8

     

1.5

6.4

2

       
H

9.6

       

9.1

10.5

       
I

1.7

                   
J

1.6

                   
K

7.5

                   
No response.

1.8

2.4

3

5.1

2.5

3.8

14

4.3

4.5

1.8

2

 

Reproductive rights

 

rrights

ppolitics

abortion

whose issue

more children

a

53

630

93

18

38

b

530

93

511

10

34

c

50

93

27

4

25

d

245

49

247

846

778

No response.

16

29

16

16

19

 

Reproductive rights

 

rrights

ppolitics

abortion

whose issue

more children

a

5.9

70.5

10.4

2

4.3

b

59.3

10.4

57.2

1.1

3.8

c

5.6

10.4

3

0.4

2.8

d

27.4

5.5

27.6

94.6

87

No response.

1.8

3.2

1.8

1.8

2.1

 


Transitional justice

  t justice instrument tj because role civ soc women’s role

a

372

400

221

128

288

b

259

380

208

391

82

c

148

69

416

231

427

d

87

 

24

59

67

e

     

53

 
No response

28

45

25

32

30


Transitional justice

 

t justice

instrument

tj because

role civ soc

women’s role

a

41.6

44.7

24.7

14.3

32.2

b

29

42.5

23.3

43.7

9.2

c

16.6

7.7

46.5

25.8

47.8

d

9.7

 

2.7

6.6

7.5

e      

5.9

 
No response

3.1

5.1

2.8

3.6

3.4

 

As the survey was being done, we have noticed the following:
Women have expressed most interest in the following topics: reproductive rights, Resolution 1325, practically everywhere women would like to find out more about it, while an astonishing piece of information is that women from nongovernmental organizations know very little about this document. Almost 70% of the respondents have never even heard of R1325.
The general impression from our fieldwork is that women from political parties mechanically repeat party positions, there is a visible lack of critical thinking and the level of political culture and political knowledge is extremely low. Also, the following characteristics were noticed among the respondents, inactivity, lack of interest, lack of sensitivity for women’s human rights, as well as an astonishingly low level of knowledge on transitional justice and its mechanisms. Respondent-activists from different NGO’s were more motivated to fill out the questionnaires and to participate in the ensuing discussion.
We have noticed that women from political parties had a negative reaction toward Women in Black as well as toward the nongovernmental sector in general, even more pronounced than perhaps two years ago, which can be clarified by the campaigns of the Serbian Government against certain nongovernmental organizations and its rhetoric that resembles the Miloševic regime. It is the rhetoric that celebrates nationalism, and everyone who opposes it is called „part of the Conspiracy from the West,“ „traitor“ and that uses media to manipulate citizens by doing away with civil conscience (for example DS in Vlasotince, Train factory in Kraljevo, political parties in Sanžak).
Activists of the Women in Black who distributed the questionnaire were all in agreement that women should be given more information on reproductive rights, transitional justice and the resolution itself, and have more access to modern technology.
The most significant resistance toward the feminist-antimilitarist attitudes during discussions came from members of political parties, especially members of DS and G17+, while liberal ideas and a readiness for constructive cooperation was shown by LDP and LSV. When the government in Serbia today supports xenophobia and neo-fascism, in addition to the traditional 3R’s - reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, we must also insist on the fourth R – reconciliation, in order to help women from political parties stop representing party opinions and start acting like representatives of women in positions of power, and using a gender perspective and advocate women’s human rights.

 

Questionnaire

BASIC INFORMATION

1. I would define myself as:
a) an activist of civil society (NGO, union, etc.)
b) a political party activist
c) Other

 

2. Education
a) elementary school
b) high school
c) higher education
d) graduate school/PhD

 

3. Socioeconomic status:
a) unemployed
b) temporarily/sometimes employed
c) fully employed
d) retired

 

4. Age
a) up to 25 years
b) 25-35 years old
c) 35-50 years old
d) Over 50 years old

 

5. How would you rate your quality of life?
a) poor
b) bearable
c) good
d) very good
e) excellent

 

HUMAN SECURITY

1. According to Your opinion, what is the greatest threat to your (personal) safety?
a) disease
b) death
c) poverty
d) unemployment
e) corruption
f) loss of employment
g) violence against women
h) war/post-conflict period
i) loss of home
j) sexual exploitation
k) loss of freedom (repression, jail, internment)

 

2. The ability of women to control their own security is limited because:
a) they take care of children at home
b) they are not economically independent
c) they are more afraid and unsure than men
d) that is the way they were raised

 

3. Which form of violence affects you the most?
a) domestic violence
b) violence at work
c) violence outside/in public places

 

4. Have you ever reported violence against yourself or another person to the appropriate institutions?
a) YES b) NO

 

5. Which factor discriminates women as opposed to men most?
a) biological
b) economic
c) social
d) religious
e) cultural (patriarchal culture, conservatism, gender stereotypes etc.)
f) family
g) educational

 

6. Which institution do You trust the least?
a) justice system
b) police
c) military
d) education system
e) health care
f) government
g) parliament

 

7. Are You acquainted with the content of Resolution 1325 of the United Nations?
a) Yes b) No

 

8. Do You consider that women are not adequately represented
a) in politics
b) in top management
c) in top business

 

9. Do You think that a critical number amounting to 30% of women in political bodies with decision-making power is necessary in order to ensure respect for their human rights and participate in decisions that affect their lives and their families?
a) I agree, this quota is a necessary minimum
b) it is not the percentage but the position, role and strength of a woman’s voice
c) it is all the same to me

 

10. What prevents women from participating in social and political life and making decisions about relevant social issues?
a) structural and cultural barriers
b) predominant gender stereotypes and discrimination
c) unequal relationship to power in relation to men
d) type of electoral system that discourages women
e) lack of influential connections
f) their psychological characteristics

 

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

 

1. Reproductive rights pertain to:
a) the right to renew income
b) the right of a woman to independently decide about (not)giving birth: how many times, when and with whom, because (not)giving birth cannot be an instrument in achieving the goals of the nation, state, church, army
c) women’s right to abortion
d) the right of a man and woman to decide together whether they will have children, how many time and how far apart

 

2. Population policy is:
a) a number of measures that affect the increase/decrease of the birth/death rate ratio
b) state policy directed at emancipating women
c) civil society efforts to improve reproductive health
d) legal regulation of the economic status of single mothers

 

3. Abortion is:
a) murder of an unborn child
b) one of the basic rights of a woman
c) crime
d) unacceptable form of contraception

 

4. The following should have a final word on giving birth to children:
a) state
b) church/religious community
c) national institution (university, academy)
d) only the woman herself

 

5. Women should have more children because:
a) the birth rate of the Serbian nation is one of the lowest in the world and the nation is dying out
b) it is the basic role of a woman to give birth
c) there is a threat that minorities who have a higher birth rate will soon be a majority in Serbia
d) only if it is suits the needs, interests and wishes of women

 

 

TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE

 

1. Transitional justice is:
a) a number of measures and institutions that a community uses to deal with a burden of crimes in its past
b) implementation of measures that establishes a just allocation of national treasures in the transition process from socialism to a transitional economy
c) transitory measures in the process of transition
d) aid measures aimed at economic empowerment of women

 

2. An instrument of transitional justice in Serbia is:
a) military prosecutor
b) special court (Council for War Crimes of the District Court in Belgrade)
c) Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia
d) Ministry for Capital Investment of the Republic of Serbia

 

3. Transitional justice is necessary because:
a) it is a way to receive international credit and integrate into the global community
b) increase living standard
c) respect the victims, achieve a lasting and just peace and reconcile with our neighbors
d) it is not necessary

 

 

4. The role of the civil society in the process of transitional justice is:
a) to empower women economically
b) to exert pressure on state institutions in order to uncover the truth about crimes and punish the perpetrators, first those who committed crimes in our name and then all the others
c) to cooperate with the government in establishing preconditions to implementing transitional justice and offer unconditional support
d) to cooperate with international organizations in the process of transitional justice and unconditionally follow their instructions
e) this has nothing to do with the role and mission of civil society

 

 

5. The unique role of women in transitional justice is:
a) economic empowerment of each individual
b) there is no crucial role of women
c) contributing to building peace and reconciliation, because women are the biggest victims of war and most active in resisting it
d) to affirm the natural peaceful nature of women

 

 

CONCLUSION


The research has shown that the socially and politically active women in Serbia who have a civic and democratic orientation, are neither informed nor knowledgeable on the relevant research topics to a satisfactory extent (definitely lower than expected), especially as far as transitional justice and being acquainted with Resolution 1325. Also, there is a high level of confusion regarding the attitudes in all three segments of the research.
As far as being informed is concerned, it is indicative that two thirds of the respondents are not acquainted with the content of Resolution 1325. The percentage of correct answers to questions verifying the knowledge of basic terms of transitional justice is between 41,6% and 47,8% as opposed to terms related to reproductive rights, where correct answers were given by 59,3% of the respondents (definition of reproductive rights) to 94,6%. As far as attitudes are concerned, there is a division between responses about the main threat to personal security (disease – 30,5%, unemployment – 13,3.%, war and post-conflict period – 9,6%, etc.), questions about the main factor of discrimination against women (26,1% - cultural factors, 23 % - economic factors, 20,7% religious factors, etc.) as well as about the institution which respondents trust most or least (they trust the judiciary least, government is in second place, and police in the third; while more than on third of the respondents trust the school system the most, then the health care system and, approximately 10,5% trust churches and religious communities). A high degree of agreement on the issue that women are most affected by domestic violence (68,7%), also a fairly high degree of agreement about the statement that economic dependence is the main limiting factor to controlling their own safety (51%), concerning the necessity of establishing a quota for women in political bodies (52,9%) and somewhat less, on the issue of predominant gender stereotypes and discrimination being the main factors that impedes women in participating in public and political life. It is indicative that attitudes toward abortion are divided: even though 57,2% of the respondents define abortion as one of the basic women’s rights, statistically significant 10,4% consider abortion to be murder of an unborn child. It is interesting that more than two thirds of the respondents have never reported violence against themselves or others. The situation is particularly chaotic when it comes to transitional justice, which is obvious when one considers that 24,3 respondents think that transitional justice is necessary to get foreign credits and integrate globally, 23,3% believe it should be done in order to increase living standards, 2,7% think it is not needed at all, while less than half (46,5%) believe it is necessary because of respect for victims, achieving lasting and just peace and reconciling with neighbors.

 

Quantitative analysis (correlations) shows an expected correspondence between the level of education and the extent to which respondents are informed, as well as a disposition toward democratic and civic values. Not being sufficiently informed correlates in variation to the tendency of most respondents to focus on domestic violence, which again correlates with the emphasis on the economic position of women as a limiting factor to emancipation and with fear of disease and unemployment. In that sense, women-activists share the position of other women, and the entire population in Serbia, which can be documented by comparing other relevant research that addresses causes of fear from the future among the population in Serbia.

 

One of the clearest conclusions that can be deduced from this research is the necessary increased educational activity among women-activists of civil society and democratic parties, aimed at raising awareness about the interconnectedness and indivisibility of human security of women and maintaining/strengthening reproductive rights on the one hand and support and active participation in the processes of establishing transitional justice on the other hand.

 

 Translated by Nadja Duhacek

 

2006-2012. Women in Black - Belgrade. All Rights Reserved.
Designed by e-Srbija