Date: 14/08/2020

Best practices in women’s economic empowerment

The Serbian Government’s Gender Equality Co-ordination Body has announced a list of recommendations for businesses designed to ensure respect for the United Nations principles for women’s economic empowerment during the Covid-19 crisis

‘Women are on the frontlines of the fight against coronavirus, as most employees in healthcare and social welfare and retail chains are women, and they also bear greater responsibility for unpaid care work at home and in the family. All of this puts them at a significant disadvantage and makes them particularly vulnerable’, said Zorana Mihajlović, Chairperson of the Gender Equality Co-ordination Body. She added that the Government’s equality watchdog aimed at addressing this issue, with the support of the EU Delegation to Serbia, the UK Embassy, and UN Women, by developing a set of recommendations for employers to take action to reduce the gender gap.

The recommendations were communicated to AmCham, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED), Foreign Investors Council, Serbian Association of Managers, and the Ministry of Economy. The advice includes introducing flexible working hours, safeguarding jobs, supporting women victims of violence, and donating to organisations that help vulnerable women.

We invite all our members to consider the following recommendations when designing and implementing measures to address the gender gap:

  • Remember and show understanding for the fact that working women bear a greater burden of caring for the family and the home than working men, whilst also holding regular jobs.
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment and consider paying bonuses to staff whose occupations put them at greater of infection. Ensure they have appropriate health insurance and healthcare.
  • If you are forced to dismiss staff, remember that working women are their families’ breadwinners just as much as working men are. Avoid excessive lay-offs if your company encounters financial difficulties due to the crisis.