Croatia’s women’s movement strategic reflection meeting
Zagreb, May 6th-7th 2017

CONTEXT

This workshop organised at the request of croatian feminist associations has been the forth in the country since 2013.


ORGANISATION

29 women of 20 croatian women's associations (coming from 9 different towns) were attending the workshop. To facilitate communications with the Mediterranean Women's Fund, Croatian/English translations were planned.

After a short presentation of each woman, the first part of the meeting was dedicated to the analysis of the context.

POLITICAL SITUATION

Croatia’s political situation is going through a « conservative revolution ». The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), a right-wing movement defined as a Christian-democratic party, has constituted a majority since 2015. They made a coalition with Most, a political party closely linked to the Catholic Church. Women’s rights are more and more attacked since Croatia accession to the European Union in 2013 and the ruling power aims at destroying civil society by cutting funds and by supporting the rise of conservative activists (pro-life movements, values of the traditional family defenders, ...). The number of women victims of gender-based violence keeps increasing ant the gouvernement does not try to sanction or to judge violence even though Croatia is likely to ratify the Istanbul Convention, combating violence against women and domestic violence. The process is slow because of many objections from right-wing politicians.


WOMEN'S MOVEMENT PRIORITIES

A round-table was organised to exchange on the priorities for croatian women's movement and for women’s rights in Croatia. Two topics have been selected and two groups of different sizes were formed to reflect on potential actions regarding the two target priorities: Neo-conservatism mindset and Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

The first group aims at implementing a new campaign on defining the word « gender » and its impacts. Women activists in Croatia are often attacked from conservative parties by using the so-called « gender ideology ». This new campaign will help blunting possible attacks and changing mindsets. It have to be « wide and continuous » and to reach rural areas.

The « Main square action » aims at blocking a pro-life march which will be held in Zagreb on 20th of May.
Every proposition issued by the groups were presented to the whole assembly.

CONCLUSION


Participants of the Croatian women’s movement strategic reflection meeting were very enthusiastic and satisfied of changes they have brought during the talks. They achieved planning concrete actions for next months and capitalising on their different skills. The participants also expressed a need to get stronger and united, especially during these tough times when they are being assaulted and attacked more and more frequently. These meetings, unquestionably, represent an individual and collective support. For the representatives of women’s organisations, it is really relevant to meet each year and to have outsider facilitators. They explained they don’t have enough time and resource to meet by themselves whereas it is essential to have a « think-tank » space as this strategic reflection meeting to get efficient.

The Mediterranean Women’s Fund has committed itself to give a grant to the women’s network of Croatia for the collective action for sexual and reproductive rights defense.