In the words of Tina Milovanović: “I want to make a visible change for the better, so that women and girls are empowered”
Tina Milovanović is a third-year student at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade. She is also one of the 25 young leaders of change participating in the UN Women Youth against violence initiative, launched in May 2021. The initiative engages mostly young people who are leaders and influencers from various spheres of public life. Through training and social media campaigns, they help prevent violence against women and girls by transforming negative social norms, raising public awareness and keeping a spotlight on sexual violence, abuse and harassment, especially against girls and young women.
Since my early high school days, I knew that I wanted to deal with topics that are important to society, which can contribute to the development of the community where I live and help young people by giving them opportunities in numerous spheres important for their personal development.
For years I have been aware of the gender-based discrimination. Unfortunately, this most often leads to violence, which is manifested in various forms, present in our community and often hidden from the public eye. I was motivated to join the Youth Against Violence Initiative so that I could become more familiar with how to protect women and girls and improve their position in society, especially since their situation has worsened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gender-based violence is a very complex problem, difficult to eradicate, but a lot can be done to reduce it. As a human being and a woman this topic makes me feel bitter. I want to make a visible change for the better, so that women and girls are empowered and provided with all the help if and when they need it.
In my personal circles, gender-based violence is not present, but outside that 'bubble' it exists. Many women do not want to talk about violence and continue to suffer for various reasons. In that case, we should respond with understanding and support, not judgement. We need to find ways to inform them and refer them to help. I also believe that the media has an important role to play, it should contribute to building and improving the status of women in society.
Being involved with the Youth Against Violence initiative has changed my perception of this global problem. I have learned about the strategic response to gender-based violence and how gender equality policies are implemented in Serbia. I also received information about important actors in this field and the current situation in my country. Now I am more motivated to deepen my knowledge about gender equality and how to end gender-based violence.
I chose to do voluntary work in BIBIJA Roma Women's Centre, a civil society organization that is supporting and empowering Roma women. I am looking forward to this opportunity to increase my knowledge and contribute to the improvement of the position of women and girls, so that one day all of us can practice our rights, without any obstacles."