The representative of the NGO Mladiinfo Montenegro attended a round table on the topic “Economic independence is my choice”, organized by the NGO Montenegrin Women’s Lobby (CŽL), which was held on September 10 in the PR Center, Podgorica. The project was funded by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights.
As part of the project, 13 participants attended and completed the training: five tailors, two hairdressers and six computer attendants.
In the introductory part, Aida Petrovic, Executive Director of the NGO Montenegrin Women’s Lobby, first introduced the attendees to the project itself and the activities implemented within it.
“It was extremely hard, but it was a pleasure because the results were obvious and the participants were very satisfied with the certificates. The project was intended for women of vulnerable groups, primarily victims of violence, single mothers, women of Roma and Egyptian populations, women victims of transition, unemployed women and middle-aged women”, said Petrovic.
She expressed special gratitude to the Tika agency for the rented, equipped space for conducting trainings. Regarding the topic of economic stability of women, Petrovic said that all sectors in institutions should be involved in the development and economic empowerment of women.
“Even more difficult employment of women is expected after the pandemic. Women who are already working face inequalities in the labor market and it is necessary to work on barriers that impede economic stability. They are afraid to respond to inequality due to job loss, salary reduction, unpaid income, transfer from work, etc., and discrimination is not reported but ignored by women. The stereotypical role of women is accepted in the family and society. The situation is very difficult in terms of women’s economic advancement. The term “Glass Ceiling” appears when a woman advances to a certain scale and a man takes on greater success. Men need to move from their armchairs in order for women to position themselves. No society, not even the Montenegrin one, can allow more than half of the population to be marginalized. A special group are women from villages that are difficult to reach, and who need to be empowered and informed about starting small businesses,”, said Petrovic in her address.
Vasilisa Danilovic, social and professional worker of CŽL and project assistant, pointed out that in addition to starting courses and connecting participants with institutions that offer grants, it is important to educate employers about the importance of this project and the independence of women after the project and realization of the right to work. The project was presented by a media campaign in the form of a short film from the collected material from sessions and courses, in order to inform the general public with the need to establish economic empowerment of women, in the form of grants, business plans, credit lines for starting a business. The project was launched through a public competition on Facebook and was implemented through trainings consisting of theoretical and practical part, in cooperation with licensed lecturers, namely Alfaton Lekic for a hairdressing course, Secondary Vocational School “Spasoje Raspopovic” for a tailoring course and Multidisciplinary educational center Pamark for computers course. It is important to mention that the courses are free. Vasilisa stated that women who were economically dependent have a low threshold of self-esteem, are insecure, cannot initiate social change and achieve gender equality. An economically independent woman is a free woman.
As a representative of the group of participants in the training, Tanja Banovic addressed the audience, who completed a course for a tailor. She is a single mother and the course has encouraged her to sew on her own, which she hopes to accomplish in the future, as she believes employers have no understanding. She is grateful to the Montenegrin Women’s Lobby for allowing the use of their space and machines even after the training.
Mira Trebjesanin, a representative of the Investment and Development Fund, said that they currently have about 40 credit lines and that they approve loans with affordable interest rates of up to three percent and also provide advice and information on collecting documents and starting business plans.
At the very end, the audience was introduced to the positive atmosphere and activities from the workshops through photographs.