No. 07-00-264/2018-02 Dated: 2 July 2018
This Opinion was issued in a procedure following a complaint filed by U.g. F. against Zoran Đorđević, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, due to the Minister’s speech at conference “Women from Rural Areas – Equal Citizens of Serbia”. The complaint stated that Minister Zoran Đorđević said the following at conference “Women from Rural Areas – Equal Citizens of Serbia”: “A woman does not know how to respect, she knows how to love. You don’t need to respect a woman but love her. Respect for them means the absence of love, something cold, coming from the head, and not something precious from the soul… All women like rich men, because a woman is always poor. They fear the smart ones… She always succumbs to a stronger, and not to smarter and a more handsome man, or a dearer one“, and they stated that they believe that the Minister violated the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination in this way, and insulted all women and showed a concerning and unacceptable level of stereotyping and prejudice against women. Zoran Đorđević, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, said in his statement that he sent a sincere apology to all female citizens of Serbia for the statement he made at conference “Women from Rural Areas – Equal Citizens of Serbia”, with which he inadvertently hurt them by quoting a text by Jovan Dučić written at the beginning of the 19th century, and that he once again wanted to point out that those are not his values, or the values of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and that he advocates the empowerment of women and their full equality, as gender equality is a key precondition for the advancement and development of a democratic society in which no form of discrimination against women will be tolerated. The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality conducted a procedure in which she considered allegations from the complaint and explanations, the content of the speech of Minister Zoran Đorđević as well as messages sent by Minister Đorđević. During the analysis of the speech, the Commissioner took into consideration the importance of the freedom of expression, on one hand, and a prohibition of public advocacy, support and treatment in accordance with prejudices, customs and other social patterns of behaviour based on the idea of subordination or gender superiority, or stereotypical roles of genders, prescribed by the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination, on the other hand. The Commissioner is of an opinion that Minister Zoran Đorđević violated Article 12 of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination. Having in mind that Minister Zoran Đorđević already apologized to all female citizens of Serbia who he hurt by reading the text by Jovan Dučić, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality recommended to the Minister not to make statements in the future that insult the dignity of women and support gender stereotypes.
|COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY