Enjoying, resprecting and protecting human and minority rights is based on a principal of equality which assumes that all people are equal not depending on their mutual differences based on personal characteristics, for example sex, gender identity etc.

Unlike sex, which refers to biological differences between women and men that are determined by birth, gender refers to their socialymodeled roles, social position and status in a particular society. It has long been considered, and some even consider it today, that the differences in the social position and roles that women and men have are determined by their sex and that they are ‘natural’.

For example, some people think that the division of jobs on male and female is natural because a woman gives birth (biological role) and so it is expected that she takes care of the child/children (gender role assigned to her even though a man can successfully do the same). A man is dominant because he is physicaly stronger, is it is assumed that he should be the head of the family, provide more income and makes decisions in the family and in the society. Girls are directed from young age to play with dolls and boys to play with rifles. At the same time, women are usually portrayed in the spelling book as mothers and boys as different professionals. With this, right from the earlies childhood, through family and the education system, children are being sent a clear message about which roles are for girls and which for boys later in the society. However, it is evident that there is nothing natural about this dividion of roles and work and that it is not a result of biology but social circumstances of and patriarchal society like Serbian society is.

Gender roles are created, passed along and thought and as such can be changed in time, in different cultures under the impact of social, political, economical, cultural, religious and other circumstances. Main areas where gender based role expectations are seen are power relations, division of labour and sexuality. As a rule, men have more valued, more visible and more acknowledged roles in a society, they are better paid, have socialy more meaningful jobs and have more responsible positions in the government. On the other hand, a women’s work is tied to their reproductive role, support and nurturing, in the private as well as in the public sphere. Because in these fields, the work of women is considered “natural”, it is not visible nor recognized enough. This leads to enequality of men and women visible in many forms such as the absence of full participation of women in politics and dicission making, gender divided job market, gender salary gap, unjustment of private and public life, the invisible contribution of women to the nacional economy through the unpaid economy of care, violency over women etc. Therefore, discrimination exists when actions are not in accordance with the principle of equality of the sexes, because men and women have and should enjoy equal rights and freedoms. Any physical and other forms of violence, exploitation, vilification and humiliating treatment and anything that is in accordance with customs derived from the idea of subordinance of the sexes is- forbidden.

Accepting gender unequalityacctualy means tolerating discrimination of women. Men and women, although with different biological characteristics and gender identities, must have equal preconditions for excercising their human and minority rights. It is important to have in mind that gender identity means the individuals own gender determination which does not necessarily depent on the biological sex. Everyone has the right to make a decision on how to express their own gender and that includes the right to be gender neutral or to transgress from one gender to the other.

Existence, understanding and respect of differences is the most valuable resource of a stabile, open, inclusive and tolerant society, which is how Serbian society thrives to be and we all have to work together to build and empower these priceless values.