Representatives of the Оrganization for supporting women with disabilities …IZ KRUGA – VOJVODINA, executive director Ms. Svjetlana Timotic, a coordinator of SOS service, Ms. Ivana Zelic and a psychologist Ms. Tatjana Stojsic Petkovic, were lecturers at the Leadership Academy for Women with Disabilities.
The network …IZ KRUGA – Srbija, set up The Leadership Academy for Women with Disabilities, supported by the Agency for gender equality and the empowerment of women of The United Nations (UN WOMEN). The Academy is held from August 23rd to October 31st, 2021.
The Academy aims to strengthen the personal and professional competence of women with disabilities. It strives to increase the number of young women with disabilities, activists from various cities from Serbia, to use their knowledge to influence public policies concerning women’s and human rights.
The Academy is held online for 10 weeks. Every week the lecturer is a different expert.
In the session Raising Awareness and Knowledge about the Rights of Women with Disabilities and Discrimination, Ms. Svjetlana Timotic, spoke of the phenomenon of disability through history, social and medical approaches to disability, defining the term disability and its types, and terminology. She also talked about stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, international and national legal framework concerning the rights of persons with disabilities, and sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities.
– The Leadership Academy is a hugely positive experience for me. It enabled talking about subjects that are of importance for each woman with a disability. We shared important information that will be useful to participants in everyday work and life. I believe the themes we worked on will become a substantial reminder and guide for further activities as material for setting up workshops and educating others to recognize discrimination, use appropriate terminology, and deal with persons with various types of disabilities – says Svjetlana Timotic.
In the session about raising awareness and knowledge about multiple discriminations in the context of human rights, Ms. Ivana Zelic, lectured about disability and gender roles, obstacles faced by persons with disabilities (architectural, communicational and informational). She talked about: the position of marginalized groups and ubiquitous stereotypes and prejudice, violence and type of violence against women with disabilities and code of conduct in working with women surviving violence, the legal framework that regulates the area of violence against women and guidelines for acting in working with women with disabilities victims of violence.
– Working with women with disabilities during the Leadership Academy was a meaningful and precious experience. Domestic and partnership violence are subjects we still do not talk about enough. Women with disabilities often do not recognize the violence they face. These are the reasons for continued work on informing and providing support to women with disabilities that experienced violence – says Ivana Zelic.
A psychologist, Ms. Tatjana Stojsic Petkovic, talked in the session about assertiveness and self- confidence. She expatiated: upon the types of communications (aggressive, passive and assertive), self-confidence and its deterioration, principles that that high level of self-confidence is built, success and failures, responsibilities, perseverance, self-discipline and motivation, rewarding, positive and encouraging beliefs, fears and boundaries.
-The Academy attendants were great, motivated to be active during the entire session. Numerous women with disabilities expressed a need for individual psychological support where they shared their fears and talked about partnerships and human relationships. The Academy is a great place for sharing experiences and talking about important issues women with disabilities do not have plenty of opportunities to discuss and get trustworthy information – says Tatjana Stojsic Petkovic.
The Academy is underway. The final event at which the works of the participants will be presented will be organized on November 17, 2021 in Belgrade.