On the Adriatic coastline lies a small country with a beautiful seaside and northern region. The country is called Montenegro, and the legend that we are taught in schools says that the name Montenegro was coined by two Italian salesmen. Montenegro is the home of tall people who persevered through chaotic historical events but succeeded in keeping their hearts warm and their heads up.
Sometimes patriarchal structures and a strong wish to preserve traditions seem to prevail over this area. However, there is another, less known side of Montenegro. I was born and live here, and I can, without a doubt, say that gender inequality is one of the biggest problems our society faces.
Gender inequality isn’t discussed, mentioned or even acknowledged by the majority in Montenegro. And a woman’s fight starts even before she is born.
|Montenegro – Today – Andreja Mihailovic|
Along with Albania, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, Montenegro is ranked at the top of the list of countries with the greatest imbalance between male and female children.1 The Institute for Statistics in Montenegro reported that in 2009 alone, 113 boys were born for every 100 girls. The natural ratio is usually 102 or 103 boys per 100 girls.
These facts may sound confusing or surprising, but it is an open secret that our women don’t resist social pressure to give birth to a son and abort a girl.
|Ostrog Monastery, Montenegro – Morning – Ollirg|
Montenegrin lawmakers have tried to control and suppress the problem by law. But there are no reported cases. The law of silence is stronger than written legislation. Abortions are done in private clinics so the public isn’t informed about them, and families are “happy” when their women abort girls.
If a conceived girl is allowed to be born, she often faces additional problems and challenges later in life: Every fifth woman in Montenegro faces some form of economic violence. This is poorly recognized and rarely reported.2 It is an open secret that many women are economically dependent on their partners. We meet these women on the street, we chit chat with them or go out for a coffee, they can be our neighbors, our former classmates, our friends or our relatives. Women often try to conceal the real truth, hiding behind lies for years and years, even decades.
|Kotor, Montenegro – On the weekend – Igor Lushchay|
It is a well-known fact that economic violence is also associated with other forms of violence, such as psychological violence. A partner usually controls and manipulates a woman, not letting her make independent decisions about her income. She then tries to fool herself into thinking that this is for the better and that she will avoid any possible conflicts and/or physical violence. Sometimes a partner convinces his girlfriend or wife to leave her job, saying that she should stay at home and take care of the household and kids.
Luckily, some people have become aware of the problem and are trying to solve it. For example, in 2017 Mccan Podgorica and Mccan Belgrade, along with the help of the Women’s Right Centre, organized the campaign #Neželjena (#Unwanted) which affected not only Montenegrin people but the whole region. The goal of the campaign was to prevent sex-selective abortions. This campaign quickly received media attention, people on social media debated and discussed this issue and it seemed that the Montenegrin public became more conscious of the problem.
|Virpazar, Montenegro – At the wine and fish festival – Natalya Volchenkova|
Of course, the campaign is just the beginning. It is great that it drew public attention, but that is just one step in solving this issue and making our country a safe place for everyone.
Another step was the regional 3-year program “Implementing norms, changing minds,” funded by the EU and conducted in 2017 with the goal of ending gender-based discrimination and violence against women in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) and Turkey.3 This program has solutions that they are actively trying to achieve. They think that a difference should be made step-by-step, and some of their ideas are to influence the laws and policies through work with governments, enhancing a woman’s position as leader, etc.
|Montenegro – Elsewhere on May 2nd – DeStefano|
It is important that we help young girls develop healthy self-esteem from a young age and also offer them emotional support. Afterwards, it is important that we teach children and teenagers about gender inequality and the related issues. That way, if something similar happens to them in the future, they will recognize the problem and seek help.
At first glance, Montenegrin society may look hostile to these changes, but the campaign and program, as well as many more initiatives to come, suggest that we are ready for change. All these attempts to make an improvement are a great way to influence our society.
|Kotor, Montenegro – Afternoon walk – Dizfoto|
We should realize that every human has equal rights. Although, this sounds trivial, like a cliché, sometimes we forget the true meaning and importance of it. Our society may not have been conscious of this in the past, but now we are aware that inequality is a problem. Sometimes we may make it harder for women to succeed in their goals, when we should encourage everyone to achieve them and be happy, no matter what their gender, race, ethnicity, etc.
It seems like we break every law, except the law of silence. We should not keep quiet about gender inequality, or inequality of any kind. On the contrary, we should discuss the problem, encourage women to share their experiences and make our society a safe and warm environment for everyone.
1.United Nations Population Fund (2012). Gender-biased sex selection.
2.Vucinic, Z. (2017). Novinarsko pero o rodnoj ravnopravnosti (Gender Equality Journal). Podgorica.
3. Woman UN (2017). Implementing Norms,Changing Minds. Retrieved from UNDP Montenegro : http://www2.unwomen.org/-/media/field%20office%20eca/attachments/publications/2017/un%20women%20regional_evaw_2-pager_final.pdf?la=en&vs=1703
Snapshot 1: Montenegro – Rimmed – Lazar Todorovic (Unsplash)
Snapshot 2: Montenegro – Today – Andreja Mihailovic (Unsplash)
Snapshot 3: Ostrog Monastery, Montenegro – Morning – Ollirg (Shutterstock)
Snapshot 4: Kotor, Montenegro – On the weekend – Igor Lushchay (Shutterstock)
Snapshot 5: Virpazar, Montenegro – At the wine and fish festival – Natalya Volchenkova (Shutterstock)
Snapshot 6: Montenegro – Elsewhere on May 2nd – DeStefano (Shutterstock)
Snapshot 7: Kotor, Montenegro – Afternoon walk – Dizfoto (Shutterstock)
Cinemblem voiceover: Talia Stotts
Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel
The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes
Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes – Lebanon. April 2019.
Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.
Antonyan, Hayk. Polarization Does Not Equal Extreme – Armenia. September 2019.
Awdejuk, Pawel. Pole-arization – Poland. June 2019.
Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.
Bondarenko, Evgeny. What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies – Ukraine. May 2019.
Cannarella, Daniela. A Past-Present Dicotomia – Italy. June 2019.
Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.
Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.
Dastan, S.A. Polarization and the Epidemic of Extremity – Turkey. August 2019.
Deiana, Sarah. The Unbearable Weight of Being a Woman – Italy. September 2019.
Escandell, Andrea da Silva. The Illogic of Extremes – Uruguay. May 2019.
Gomez, Javier. The Canyon Inside Us – Argentina. July 2019.
Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019.
Husseini, Maha. Bilingual Par Excellence – Canada. August 2019.
Israyelyan, Mania. Polarized Within Ourselves – Armenia. June 2019.
Julber, Lillian. Difficult to Understand – Uruguay. July 2019.
Kanunova, Nigina. Role of Polarization in the Life of an Individual and Society – Tajikistan. July 2019.
López, Virginia Sanmartín. Why Live on an Edge? – Spain. August 2019.
Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.
Protić, Aleksandar. Linguistic Balkanization as a Means of Polarization – The Balkans. June 2019.
Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization – Italy. April 2019.
Ray, Sanjay Kumar. At the Crossroads – India. August 2019.
Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.
Çakir, Peren. Needing a Sustainable Future in the Midst of Political Polarization – Argentina and Turkey. September 2019.
Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.
Sekulić, Jelena. The Polarizacija of Serbian Culture – Serbia. June 2019.
Sem, Sebastião. Brandos Costumes – Portugal. July 2019.
Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.
Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.
Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity – The Balkans. April 2019.
Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.
Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity – Argentina. April 2019.
Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children – Peru. April 2019.
Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019
Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.
Williams, Jazz Carl. Unfinished Episodes – Spain. May 2019.
Zakharova, Anastasiya. Feminism – Russia. August 2019.
CW 40 – Columbia – Christian Escobar
CW 41 – Kenya – Kenn Mwangi
CW 42 – Pakistan – Muhammad Kashif Shahid
CW 43 – Tunisia – Sarah Turki
CW 44 – Estonia – Margot Arula
CW 45 – Ghana – Kwasi Amankwah Awuah
CW 46 – Dominican Republic – Aura De Los Santos
CW 47 – Montenegro – Nikolina Pavicevic
CW 48 – America – Talia Stotts
CW 49 – Philippines – Kristian Uusitalo
CW 50 – Hungary – Zoltan Monar
CW 51 – Syria/UAE/Egypt – Ahmed Ibrahim
CW 52 – Nigeria – Ethelbert Umeh
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed