…Iz Kruga – Vojvodina co-organizer of the meeting

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Women’s Studies and Research and the Organization …IZ KRUGA – VOJVODINA organized a meeting to mark the International Women’s Day. The meeting was held on March 6, 2021, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the premises of the Organization …IZ KRUGA – VOJVODINA.

The research project What Women aged 65+ (can’t) do in Serbia today, implemented by Women’s Studies and Research from Novi Sad and the Ecumenical Initiative of Women from Omis (Croatia), in the period from February 1, 2020 to April 30, was presented at the meeting 2021.

The aim of the research is to collect and analyze the potentials, resources and achievements of older women, as well as the different types of discrimination they are exposed to in everyday life, which confirms that discrimination is a common phenomenon for different groups of older women. The result of the research work is the book Age and Gender in Time and Space – What Women aged 65+ (can’t) do in Serbia today, edited by Margareta Basharagin. The book is dedicated to prof. Dr. Slobodanka Markov, the originators of the topic of gender and the elderly in Women’s Studies and Research.

The research with the help of the online questionnaire What women aged 65+ (can’t) do in Serbia today was conducted today by Dasa Duhacek, and the analysis of the results was given by Margareta Basaragin, in a labor called Don’t worry, years are just a number – Ageism and sexism in media discourse: TV commercials and anti-newspaper advertisements and Svenka Savic, in a paper entitled Language and Age in Interaction.

– The aim of the research is to present the attitudes of older women about human rights, women’s human rights and discrimination as a relationship with the elderly, exposure to discrimination through personal experience, and how this view determines them in understanding their potential. The hypothesis is that older (educated) women recognize discrimination based on age, because it is part of personal experience, but not multiple discrimination – gender, age and nationality, which is otherwise part of education – says Dasha Duhacek.

The research aimed to deconstruct the concept of age and aging of women in advertising discourse and point out the forms of discrimination against older women, based on the analysis of television commercials in Serbia today, and presenting recommendations for overcoming them. Older people rarely appear in the content of TV commercials in stereotypical roles, and the method of intersection reveals that older women are doubly discriminated against – by gender and age. I conclude that little attention in advertising and media discourse is paid to the topic of age, experience and potential of older women – says Margareta Basharagin.

The aim of this labor is to present the continuity of discriminatory linguistic (symbolic) practice for the term old woman (grandmother – old woman) and to offer a possible way of overcoming such a discriminatory state in our country today. The basic hypothesis is that the formation of linguistic stereotypes towards older people, towards older women in particular, exists in interrelation with the notion of older people in society. If we change language practice, can we change or reduce negative stereotypical thinking? In conclusion, there is a proposal to change the existing language practice towards older women, so that the wider community recognizes the potentials of (highly educated) older women and affirms them, which ensures that women’s education and their gender dimension are more respected – says Professor Emeritus Svenka Savic.

After the presented summaries of the research, Sanja Kojic Mladenov, in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina from Novi Sad, presented the Review of Older Women in Visual Art.

The labor investigates the way older women are portrayed in the visual arts, in order to indicate the position, place and role of a woman who is declared old by society, as well as the mechanisms influencing the creation of her marginalized position, exclusion from the community, prejudice and taboos. If the way of presenting age is changed, aging will be viewed in a positive light – says Sanja Kojic Mladenov.

The project was implemented in order to introduce the topics of gender and age/aging in academic women’s studies, as an important segment of feminist education in our country today.

Stasa Zajovic, on behalf of the Organization of Women in Black from Belgrade, ended the meeting by talking about the importance of solidarity during the pandemic.

– During the state of emergency declared due to the corona virus pandemic in Serbia, Women in Black organized activities of mutual support and solidarity, and after its abolition, they organized meetings with their activists. The collected experiences testify to the challenges of activism, the consequences of the pandemic at the economic and social level, ethics of care, alternatives, ie strategies of resistance at the personal level, the effects of repressive measures of the regime, state responsibility, (mis) pandemic and political emergency – she concluded Stasa Zajovic.

Photographer: Maja Tomic

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