Zorana Antonijevic, National Programme Officer, OSCE Mission to Serbia ( OSCE/Jonathan Perfect )

The OSCE is among the few organizations in the field in that really addresses the needs of minority women. I think this is our great advantage, and it’s an exciting part of my job, because you can always learn something; there is always a chance to mutually exchange with others and to share experiences. I really value our work with Roma women, especially in our mentoring program. We not only have Roma women as mentees, but also as mentors in the program.

Most of the work that I do involves analysing the gender issues that women and men face in Serbia, and I provide this analysis to the senior staff in the Mission. I discuss project proposals which would help to mainstream gender equality – all project proposals in the Mission are sent to me so that I can review them from a gender perspective, and give improvements where necessary. I also conduct training for NGOs and local government in order to mainstream gender issues in their policy and practice.

I am currently a PhD candidate in Gender Studies, and I took leave from the OSCE this year to spend six months in Sweden as a guest researcher. It’s great that the OSCE allowed me to take this opportunity, and it’s relevant for what I do every day. It helps me to gain contacts, extend my networks and allows me to offer experts visits to the Mission, which in turn helps improve our work and development.

The fact that we are a political organization it is an interesting challenge for our work. The perception of gender issues is that they are generally not seen as political issues, but instead are seen as development issues. Violence against women is however now seen more as a political issue, and I think it’s very important that we work to make it one.