Women’s Rights & Ča Kaj Što

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Rujana Bakić (Zrinka Lušić/VOC)

Women Changing the World of Work

Women’s rights have come a long way in the last century. Rujana Bakić, Croatian Maker, says these changes are not only due to global initiatives, such as International Women’s Day, but local initiatives too. Croatian Makers has set course to make a change in the Croatian mindset and work towards achieving gender equality in the workforce, particularly in the STEM sector.

How did it all start?

Women’s Day was observed for the very first time in New York over 100 years ago. This Day was first marked on February 28th, 1909 in remembrance of the 1908 strike of one the largest labour unions in the US – the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, when 20,000 primarily female workers went on strike for 14 weeks. Although only partially successful, this event has continually inspired women around the globe to take action and voice their need for gender equality. However, it wasn’t until 1977 that International Women’s Day was observed as a popular event internationally, when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to mark the 8th March as the official UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

A beginning to an end

Nowadays, initiatives for women’s rights and gender equality have come a long way. However, statistics still show huge disparities, especially in the work force. The UN’s theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030″ is working to close the gap, predicted the World Economic Forum to stands at 59% in 2016.
There are also various initiatives in Croatia that are working towards this goal. One of them is Croatian Makers, a project of the ‘Institute for Youth Development and Innovation’, which works towards educating Croatia’s youth about today’s technological advancements. Co-founder Rujana Bakić believes although Croatia does seem far from achieving the 50-50 goal, projects such as theirs bring hope for the generations to come.

Changing mindsets for an equal future

This highly acclaimed project, which is sponsored by the Croatian President, aims at educating primary school children in robotics and programming, which Bakić says will narrow the mental gap between the developed world and Croatia.

“Since we only started a year ago, this obviously shows that the feedback girls get at home is that they are not for the so called STEM education, basically that this is not for girls. This is completely ridiculous because it’s a well known fact that girls are more attentive, I’ve seen that they show more interest. I think initiatives like ours and others like it are great, but I don’t think we particularly need initiatives that are solely girl-friendly. This doesn’t need to be pointed that out, girls should simply just be included. It should be inclusive for everybody”, says Bakić.

Essential to achieving such goals is a change in our nation’s mindset. “This is something that needs to change from within. Women and girls need to primarily believe in themselves and take action. It’s important to know who you are and what you want to achieve. You should be unstoppable and happy that you have accomplished something that fulfils you.” Fundamental to her own success is her husband’s support, “If there’s a man who supports women’s rights more than anyone it is absolutely him. He believes women bring certain qualities to the workplace that men just cannot”, shares Bakić.

Drago Štambuk: The Golden Formula of the Croatian Language

Croatian physician, poet, essayist and former ambassador, Drago Štambuk.
(Photo: Boris Scitar/Vecernji list/PIXSELL)

Keeping in the spirit of the Month of the Croatian Language we bring you an interview with Croatian physician, poet, essayist and former Ambassador, Drago Štambuk. Beside a career that includes research into diseases of the liver and AIDS as well as a demanding career in diplomacy, where he was the Croatian Ambassador to numerous countries, Štambuk has also written a number of books that have been translated in several languages. He regularly organizes the Croatia Redeviva – Ča Kaj Što poetry event on the island of Brač. Branko Lozančić brings us an interview with Dr. Štambuk where he explains more about the festival and the richness of the Croatian language.

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