My activism began in 1985 with the feminist group Zena I drustvo (Woman and Society) in Belgrade. I was a co-founder of the SOS hotline for women and children victims of violence, of the Belgrade Women’s Lobby, of the Women’s Parliament – Belgrade, and of the Civic Resistance Movement. During the war, I was active with Belgrade’s Center for Anti-War Action.
In 1991, I was one of the founders of the feminist-pacifist group Women in Black. I have been a coordinator of and participant in the organisation’s anti-militarist, peace and feminist, actions, performances, gatherings, conferences, and seminars ever since. Women in Black, Belgrade has been demanding change in the current situations in Serbia and throughout the world by creating and participating in non-violent actions and activities against patriarchy, nationalism, militarism, and war and for the promotion of human rights, democracy, and non-violent conflict transformation. Our efforts to realise these goals include the following:
- creating space for voices against war and all kinds of violence;
- encouraging and organizing nonviolent resistance to patriarchy, especially to war, militarism, ethnic homogenization, and fundamentalism;
- making visible non-violent resistance through street actions, performances, theatre, and campaigns;
- building a network of solidarity across state, ethnic, racial, religious, sexual, and all other divisions;
- encouraging the creation of interethnic/intercultural peace coalitions and the participation of women in nonviolent resolution of conflict;
- organising educational programs on feminism, pacifism, and antimilitarism;
- confronting the past from a feminist-pacifist approach and through public demands to extradite to the Hague Tribunal all persons accused of war crimes;
- creating an alternative history/history of otherness/herstory by publishing books, readers, and leaflets on women’s nonviolent resistance, and feminist-antimilitarist theory;
- denouncing the ties between global and local militarization and the militarization of our everyday lives;
- demanding demilitarization and disarmament through peace education, street actions, campaigns, petitions, civil disobedience, etc.;
Since 1997, WiB has been intensively involved in educational activities in Serbia and the broader region, particularly in the spheres of education for democracy and civic values, gender consciousness and self-esteem, and human rights awareness. Past programs include several Traveling Women’s Workshops in which more than 1,000 women participated. This form of education is central to the development of civil society in Serbia. The project Power and Otherness in 2001 included participants from three ethnically heterogeneous regions of Serbia and was directed at recognising differences as a basis for creative dialogue and cohabitation. In 2002-2003, Women in Black, with Zagreb’s Forum for Freedom in Education, created Street Law, a human rights education project for teachers. The 59 participants who successfully completed the program have been implementing their acquired knowledge and skills in their local environments, spreading a culture of peace and democracy to their students.
Women in Black’s current work focuses on the themes of Women, Peace, and Security and Warning Signs of Fundamentalism. We are organising large conferences on those topics and smaller workshops that will take place throughout Serbia and Montenegro. We are in the process of translating articles on these topics into Serbian for publication.