No. 07-00-697/2019-02 date: 24. 2. 2020.
The opinion was issued in the procedure regarding the complaint of A. A. against the Publishing House B. B. due to the discriminatory text in the textbook “Geography for the sixth grade of primary school” of this publisher. The complaint asserts that the geography textbook for sixth grade contains the following sentence: “In developed countries, the birth rate is low, because the position of women in society in the 20th century has significantly improved” and that in this way women are labeled as the main cause of declining birth rates. The statement of the Publishing House notes that relevant literature was used for everything that was written, primarily official UN publications, but also leading international and domestic journals, and that the statements in the textbook rely exclusively on modern, relevant, scientific results. While analyzing the text of the textbook, the Commissioner has especially taken in consideration that the textbook is intended for children aged 11 and 12, and that it deals with a social phenomenon that is influenced by multiple factors. During the procedure, it was determined that, using the causal conjunction “because”, the text indicates women as solely responsible for the reduction of the birth rate, without indicating other equally important factors that affect the number of childbirths, thus placing the change of the position of women in a negative context. The Commissioner determined that the text: “In developed countries, the birth rate is low, because the position of women in society in the 20th century has significantly improved. Couples get married later, so they are less likely to have more children. Living single is also common, because for many, their careers and material things are often more important than family and children” encourages discriminatory attitudes towards women, because it asserts that the only cause of falling birth rates is the improvement of the position of women in the society, and that it also condemns people living in a way that is different from the traditional patterns of behavior of men and women in Serbia. The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality gave the opinion that by this text, which was published in the textbook “Geography for the sixth grade of primary school”, and which encourages discriminatory attitudes towards women, and condemns people who live in a way different from traditional patterns of behavior in Serbia, the Publishing house B. B. violated the provisions of Articles 6 and 20 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. Therefore, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality gave a recommendation to the Publishing House B. B. to change the text of the textbook “Geography for the sixth grade of primary school” by S. S, P. P. and D. D. in the mentioned part, by eliminating discriminatory attitudes towards women, as well as to take care in the future, not to violate anti-discrimination regulations in the framework of its regular work and activities.
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY