No. 07-00-42/2021-02 Date: 8.3.2021.
Milan Ćulibrk, editor-in-chief
Cetinjska 1, 4th floor
Dear Mr. Ćulibrk,
During the judging and selection process for the NIN Award, the Commissioner for Protection of Equality was repeatedly reminded of the indirect marginalization of women’s literature by the fact that no female writer could receive this award, because there were no women among the finalists for the prestigious award for best novel of the year, with a reminder that, since the establishment of the award, only 5 women writers have received this recognition. Also, a question was asked about the composition of the jury, given that this year only one woman was a jury member, while the remaining four were men, which, according to those who addressed our institution, does not reflect the real female contribution to contemporary literature production.
Having in mind the above, we point out that Article 15 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia prescribes that the state guarantees the equality of women and men and develops a policy of equal opportunities.
The Republic of Serbia has ratified the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) , which stipulates that member states take all appropriate measures, including legislative, in all areas, especially political, social, economic, and cultural, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, so that they would be guaranteed the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, on an equal footing with men (Article 3), as well as take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social life to ensure their equal rights, and in particular, inter alia, the right to participate in all forms of cultural life (Article 13) based on equality between women and men.
By ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Republic of Serbia has committed itself to ensure the equal right of men and women to enjoy all the economic, social, and cultural rights listed in this Covenant (Article 3), and to recognize everyone’s right to participate in cultural life (Article 15).
Article 20 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination stipulates that discrimination exists if the principle of gender equality is not adhered to, that is, the principle of respect for equal rights and freedoms of women and men in political, economic, cultural, and other aspects of public, professional, private and family life.
According to the Law on Culture, the principles of cultural development are based, among other things, on equality in the work of all subjects in culture.
Article 2 of the Law on Gender Equality stipulates that gender equality implies equal participation of women and men in all areas of the public and private sector in compliance with generally accepted rules of international law, ratified international treaties, the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, as well as other laws, and that everyone is obliged to respect it. The provision of Article 3, paragraph 2 of this Law stipulates that the policy of equal opportunities implies equal participation of the genders in all phases of planning, making, and implementing decisions that affect the position of women and men.
According to the Regulations on the NIN’s Critics’ Award for the Best Novel of the Year, authors who write and publish a novel in Serbian, in the period from January 1 to December 31 of the previous year, are eligible for the NIN Award, while members of the jury are appointed by the editor-in-chief of NIN, with prior consultation with the Collegium of NIN. The mandate of the jury members lasts two years. The editor-in-chief may extend the mandate of the members of the jury for another year or two.
Finally, we would like to remind you that the promotion of gender equality and its strengthening in all fields significantly contributes to the further building of democratic values and the development of our entire society. This is especially important when it comes to literary creation, bearing in mind, on the one hand, the entire contribution of women to literature in Serbia, and on the other, the important messages that literature itself and the promotion of women’s authorities in this field have in establishing new gender discourses.
In this regard, without entering into the criteria for selection of members of the jury, nor in the criteria for selection of novels that entered the wider and then the shortlist for the NIN Award, and based on the prescribed competence of the Commissioner from Article 33, item 9, of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, we are sending you a recommendation to take appropriate measures, within your competences, during the next selection of the jury for the NIN Award, to achieve the principle of gender equality.
 „Official Gazette of the RS“, No. 98/06, Article 21.
 „Official Gazette of the RS – International Treaties“, No. 11/81
 „Official Gazette of the RS – International Treaties“, No. 7/71
 „Official Gazette of the RS“, Nos. 72/09, 13/16, 30/16-corr. and 6/20 (Article 3. Item 9)
 „Official Gazette of the RS“, No. 104/09
COMMISSIONER FOR PROTECTION OF EQUALITY