8 March in the spirit of misogyny

On the occasion of 8 March – International Women’s Day, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) points with concern to increasing misogyny which remains insufficiently and inadequately addressed by decision makers, institutions and significant part of the society. When it comes to female politicians, misogyny has recently been highlighted, but it is also present and unsanctioned for years towards women from critically oriented non-governmental organizations.

Unfortunately, despite the large number of international documents which condemn and forbid all forms of violence, including violence against women, we witness strengthening of these occurrences in the society.

There is still no full respect for human rights in Montenegrin society, nor have systemic educational and related measures been implemented that would contribute to the establishment of human rights cultures. That is why it is still necessary to fight for some fundamental women’s rights. This is confirmed by the latest public opinion research conducted by CCE, which indicates that men and women in Montenegro do not have equal rights. In fact, the majority of citizens, more precisely almost two-thirds (63%), consider that gender equality has not been achieved in Montenegro.

Additionally, Gender Equality Index for Montenegro is 55 out of 100,  which puts Montenegro significantly below the EU average, which is 67.4, and this is illustrated by numerous inequalities in various spheres whose causes remain despite certain interventions aimed at improving gender equality.

Marginalizing the issue of the position of women in Montenegro opens a dangerous space for conflict with women, especially those who publicly express their attitude or hold high political and public positions, which becomes part of our everyday life. There is no justification for sexism and misogyny, nor is there any justification for attacks on women in this context, no matter how close or unacceptable to someone are the views they publicly advocate.

In addition to increasingly highlighted nationalist and clerical tendencies, Montenegrin society demonstrates an increasingly retrograde attitude towards women in the public sphere, which narrows the already limited space for women’s effective public action. It should be emphasized that this is accompanied by low level of public speaking culture in which women are exposed to brutal insulting and attempts of humiliation. Such examples create a climate of intimidation, fear and insecurity and have tendency to legitimize violence against women, which is unacceptable in a democratic society.

CCE reminds that one of the progress indicators in the democratization and Europeanization of Montenegrin society is the argumentative public criticism and the attitude of decision makers towards that criticism. Such criticism cannot be based on vulgar and archaic forms that focus on one’s gender and sexuality. Freedom of speech should contain a constructive, even provocative, level of criticism, in written or caricatured expression, but also to ensure a balance between the public interest and the dignity of the individual. In the current Montenegrin context, this requires a higher level of responsibility of all social and political actors, but also constant work on raising public awareness and education on gender equality in order to exterminate prejudices and stereotypes which lead to discrimination, disrespect and violence against women.

Tamara Milaš, Human Rights Programme Coordinator