Sandra Abramovic of Dress for Success Belgrade Talks Women Empowerment in Serbia

For Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the empowering women that work at our affiliate locations all around the world. These ladies are making an impact in someone’s life every single day and we thank them for their commitment to the organization. Throughout the month of March we will be featuring the women who are truly making a difference at their affiliate locations. Women’s History Month is all about recognizing the achievements of women and we plan on celebrating every day. Women helping women is what Dress for Success is all about and we see that power of women coming together impact a number of lives. We asked 12 women from 12 different countries about Women’s History Month and what motivates them to continue to do what they do for Dress for Success. Come back to our blog throughout March to get to know the ladies that make it all happen behind the scenes. Meet Sandra Abramovic, of Dress for Success Belgrade.

Sandra Abramovic, Dress for Success Belgrade

Dress for Success: How many years have you been with Dress for Success?
Sandra Abramovic:
I have been following the mission of Dress for Success since 2010. We officially established Dress for Success Belgrade in September 2016 and this is just the beginning.

DFS: What bold action did you take to make a change or a difference?
We have managed to achieve our results owing to the understanding and assistance of both governmental and non-governmental sector, but also to numerous donors who recognized our enthusiasm for this idea that we have been implementing in our region.

Wishing to continue and enhance our joint efforts, we have decided to strengthen our own capacities to [establish] Dress for Success Belgrade, with [the] focus on strengthening economic security and women’s rights.

DFS: Can you describe a moment when you helped someone at Dress for Success that moved you or special achievement that you’ve accomplished during your time at the organization?
It is not easy, because we are at the beginning, but I am lucky to do a job I like and I think that with my involvement at the Dress for Success Belgrade I am raising the status of women in society. In [a] time where success is measured by male standards, using politics or without it, there are only a few women in the community who have managed to be visible in public over the last two decades. I am continuously active, sometimes I find myself thinking, ‘Hello, you should stop.’ But I am not tired at all. A strong woman is the one who believes in herself and has strength to remain consistent with her goals and guiding ideas. There is still a great need for more women in Belgrade, Serbia to seize opportunities, realize their full potential and be proud of what they can achieve.

DFS: Who do you thank or recognize for Women’s History Month that have helped make the advancement of all women possible?
Of course, the long list of trailblazers, the women who marched were civilly disobedient, [and] spoke out.

DFS: What motivates you to continue your work at Dress for Success?
Discrimination, underpayment, exposure to economic, institutional, physical violence, unequal gender representation in politics, legislative frameworks and saving our hard-won rights are only some of the characteristics of life in Serbia. Few women have managed, with their work and efforts, to earn the place they deserve. At first glance, I am just an ordinary woman in the shadow of men, but I think that with my energy, work and attitude, I change not only myself, but also my community. It is all just a matter of organization and our own awareness as to how strong one’s sense of responsibility towards him/herself and the community. We need to be well disciplined with no possibility of being idle. I have always had a feeling that I was the one who needed to initiate something, to give something to the society in order to expect something in return. I was mainly influenced by the environment where I am still living, the traditional point of view that men are worthier than women by their birth.

I wish to Dress for Success Belgrade dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, establishing accelerated progress on meeting their needs in our country and worldwide. I consider that gender inequality, despite much progress, remains among the greatest challenges of our times. Fed by deeply embedded discrimination against women, it is wrong and costly, whether it interrupts economic progress, undercuts peace or restricts the quality of leadership. Ending it should be the foremost among global and national goals.

In the future, a stand-alone goal to achieve gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment could fuel faster and broader progress. It should be grounded in human rights and aimed at tackling unequal power relations.
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