At the corner of Zmaj Jovina and Dunavska streets, below the colourful OPENS flags, at the old core of European Youth Capital 2019, the passers-by were moved from their monotony by an unusual scene – almost fifty girls in their childhood years, young girls and women and a man. A completely innocent moment, but quite a picturesque one for this story.
At the same moment, one of the girls is late. She explains that to the taxi driver while getting in, to which she gets the comment: “Ah, what are we going to do with you women, you are always in a hurry.”
One of the women in the group is a journalist, one of the loudest advocates for women’s right. Married, with an impressive career, in her early thirties.
The second is the loudest one, with the largest smile. Her job is to teach other people how a smile heals everything. She is in a wheelchair.
The third one is someone’s aunt brought by a colleague, the other two are grandmas and teachers in a pension. Just a dozen of them finished high-school.
The man is an actor. Young. Popular.
But all of this is not important unless you know what has gathered them.
The “I am what I am” campaign advocates for free choice of women and equal position in a society. The campaign is implemented with the support of European Youth Capital Novi Sad and UNICEF. Before the beginning of the campaign, symbolically on 8 March, U-Report conducted the research including 980 subjects 21% of which were men and 79% of which were women.
So, the campaign relies on the research, it promotes several short films which will go out on monthly basis until March of the following year, and they will talk about the stereotypical roles of women and it ends with the play about Janis Joplin by the director Sonja Petrović.
The actor Bojan Perić is the following key point of this story, the host of the mentioned short films and one of the faces of the campaign. As a famous person, he believes he can raise awareness of people and bring the problem closer to the society.
“One of my functions in the society and my duty is to make at least one people aware by my presence and occupation to do something good for the welfare of society. I have never divided people according to their gender, skin colour or any other basis. All people in the society should be equal, regardless of whether someone is of different skin colour. We all live on the same planet and in the same country. Therefore, we should respect and support each other”, Bojan Perić says.
According to the research, more than the half of participants in the research says that the engagement of the entire society is necessary for the equal position in the society, while the other half thinks the position of women is equal.
“It is great that it is talked more about gender equality and I think that in that sense, we have evolved in relation to the period about twenty or thirty years ago when this topic was less known. Some principles are changed but I think people have become more understanding to each other. It is necessary to talk about all problems and to pay attention to it. We are on the road to an equal status”, Bojan explains.
48% of participants think that society should fight the most in the field of violence, whole other points are finances and jobs. Girls say they do not have salary that will adequately justify their work, and they think men are not damaged in that sense.
“This is about making women who are sometimes not in the position to be informed aware. We are going towards being equal and I think things change and I think that women are no longer expected to be housewives. I think that we have reached the social level which is quite acceptable in urban areas while more must be done in rural ones”, Bojan adds.
The idea of the campaign is to break the stereotypes about women and to present women in their actual surrounding as natural and direct ones. Still, as women who completely or partly differ from what society think about them. To embody the internet communication and opinions from the internet about certain women as actual dialogues and thereby make the sense of their power and to warn about the fact that such actions can severely endanger the equality in the society.
“A human being is a human being, and it should be treated accordingly, without making any difference”, Boja adds.
This has been one of the set of recording days which is still on-going. The first stereotypical role of women is a police woman, and the film is going out on 8 October.
Until then, the fuss and the interested looks of otherwise uninterested citizens of Novi Sad reached by a man and around fifty women is very interesting. So, the first step is good.
Oh, yes. We all listened to instructions of a women. The director.