Brankica Janković’s speech at the conference “We don’t discriminate”

Dear members of the Parliament, Your Excellences, distinguished directors of companies and enterprises, representatives of the civil society and the media, esteemed guests, partners and friends,

It is my great honor and pleasure to greet you all and thank you for accepting our invitation, demonstrating in such way that we are united around the idea of ​​equality and equal opportunities for all our citizens, and that the rules of business and human rights are not on different but on the same side, given that the economy cannot be separated from the people in any aspect of its appearance. Quite the contrary – the diversity of perspectives, talents, knowledge and experience, the diversity in which respects each individual, present the path to success in business. All of you assured us that we’re on the right track – our partners and friends, as well as companies that have not been able to attend our conference, but they are ready to accept our Code of equality in their operations.

Today, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, together with its partners – successful companies, international and domestic institutions and organizations – gives its small contribution to establishing strong and successful Serbia. Equality of all citizens is not a principle to respect because it is fashionable or imposed by anyone, but because it is important for the quality of life and dignity of our citizens and present the basis of realization of all other human rights.

I was especially encouraged and delighted because almost all of our present participants told me, during the preliminary discussion about today’s event, that they are already working in accordance with principles and Code of equality, respecting every employee,  and they are aware that this is foundation of successful business that is not based on prejudices and stereotypes about any employee, because of his or her skin color, nationality, gender or any other personal characteristic. It is very important for our institution because we are unfortunately sometimes, according to our competences, in situation to bring out in public those bad examples – discrimination cases that are most common in the employment process and at the labor market. Our legal obligation is to inform the public through media, our esteemed partners in this common work, when an employer does not act upon the recommendation of Commissioner.  Taking all this in account, we know that we are not alone in our efforts to achieve full equality and create condition for equal opportunities everywhere, including the labor market. It is encouraging to see that differences are seen as welfare and potential to a large degree – which was confirmed by many business leaders and best practice creators  and implementators who are present here – that is also one of the key messages of the Code of equality that we are presenting today. The purpose of this practical and operative document is to be a tool, but also a small reminder in implementing the principle of equal opportunities in the recruitment process and at work, which all together eventually has a goal to improve working process itself for the employer. Motivated and satisfied employee is the greatest value of a company, while working environment also consists of connections between people and working atmosphere. Most recent researches at the global level prove again and again what we already know – happy and satisfied worker is the more productive and better at performing his/her work duties and that is why the most successful companies find ways to motivate their employees and make them satisfied, because it reflects on the profit growth, but we will hear about that later, from your presentations.

I would wish to quote words of one of the most respected psychologists of our times, Daniel Goleman, who also said this, but in another way: “True leader is aware of two things: first, it doesn’t hire a computer program, but a living person and second, it’s not only important to know how to lead its team, but to be a good team member”. In the most powerful valley on Earth, Silicon Valley, important postulate and condition of success is to have as much interactive communication, opinion exchanges and solidarity as possible between employees, who are mostly from distant countries and different social and cultural backgrounds, but this contributes greatly to occurrence of the most creative ideas that are development engines of every economy in digital age. There, they don’t care about money, but care about good ideas that can’t happen without a good team. Teams always consist of people, with all their merits, even demerits, special skills, knowledge and abilities, also their belonging to different nationalities, religions and social groups, beside their different gender, social status, health, age or some kind of disability. Of course, that world is not flawless, primarily in the area of digital labor market regulation, Siegmar Gabriel says about this as follows: ”We have to formulate relations at the labor market, where click-workers would not become disenfranchised laborers of  digital moderna”.

At the beginning, I said that today was the day for promotion of equality, especially at the labor market, so I will not talk about other side of the coin – discrimination – that I speak enough about, as competent, when it’s the time and place. Discrimination during the recruitment process and at the labor market is the greatest challenge and area with greatest amount of work for all institutions for equality in all Europe, with whom we cooperate in a very good manner, most intensively – with ones in the region. Last year, here at the same place, we dedicated special attention to this issue, in slightly different composition, with eleven institutions from the region, my distinguished colleagues, when we signed document on cooperation in suppression of discrimination and demonstrated readiness to be developing force within social processes in our countries. I see the same strength today. I am sure that we share with us the vision of Serbia as open and tolerant society of equal people that provides equal opportunities for everyone. By implementing Code of equality, we will make another important step toward realization of this vision, because we are mature society in which equality is undisputable value, shared commonly with everyone. This maturity implies that we know, among other things, the situation at the labor market or to say it better by citing the Nobel prize winner for economy, Harry Markowitz: ”Labor market has no heart and no brain, so we can’t expect it to consciously solve its internal inequalities. We ourselves have to correct those inequalities”.

Thank you all for your attention!

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