The President of the Republic of Srpska Željka Cvijanović participated in the international conference “Women leaders and sustainable development – Truly equal” in Belgrade today, where she spoke at a central panel discussion on “Women leaders – Past, Present and Future”.
The President of the Republic of Srpska said that there is a long way for all countries in the region to achieve full gender equality, but that Srpska has shown that it is a mature society since it gives the same opportunity to both women and men.
“I do believe in an equal opportunity society”, said the President Cvijanović, speaking on the panel “Women Leaders – Past, Present, Future”.
The President of the Republic emphasized that everyone in society must be aware and capable of eliminating stereotypes.
According to the President of the Republic of Srpska, it is obvious that there are no formal barriers between women and men in most societies, but the issue is whether they exist in real life.
“I often say that the greatest reform in our societies is the mental reform”, said the President Cvijanović, noting that this involves changing approaches and fighting to eliminate what is traditional and bad and preserving what is traditional and good.
The President Cvijanović expressed hope that her example and the example of other women in the political and public life of Srpska would show others that there was an opportunity.
The President of the Republic of Srpska stated that being at the position of the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister of Srpska certainly helped her to become a Minister, Prime Minister and now the President of the Republic of Srpska.
“I am the president of all citizens and I could not have been one without both women and men voting for me. That is where the value lies”, said the President of the Republic of Srpska.
The President of Srpska pointed out that there are prescribed election quotas, and that one should insist on quality and depending on what one has to offer.
“I cannot agree with “women should vote for women”, it was added by the President Cvijanović.
The Republic of Srpska President said that, from an outside perspective, particularly observed from the Western side, her career seemed like a typical school example, but that, when she heard the most appalling things about herself four years ago, there were no Westerners then to explain that a woman should not be called vulgar names.
“At that time, I was able to see people both at the local and national level listening to such cheers, but did never raise their voice against it”, said the Republic of Srpska President.
The President of the Republic recalled that as the Prime Minister of Srpska she participated in a television show where all other guests, including some from the region, complained about discrimination, while at that time there were six women ministers in her Cabinet, woman as a Deputy Prime Minister and five female directors of the most important public companies.