Women in Defence System – Serbia – 2023

National Action Plan 1325:

Serbia’s second Action Plan for the implementation of the Resolution 1325 expired in 2020. In 2022, the Ministry of Defence formed a new organisational unit within its human resources sector – the Gender Equality Office, with the aim of improving gender equality in the defence sector. The Office will be responsible for the preparation of the third action plan.

Participation of women in the MoDs and the Armed Forces:

Military service recently became quite popular in Serbia, both among young women and young men. In the last two years, more girls than boys have enrolled in the Military Gymnasium and Military Vocational High School in Belgrade.1 Currently, there are 34% female cadets at the Military Academy, while at the Medical Faculty of the Military Medical Academy (VMA) the number of women is greater than 70%.

In principle, all positions are available to women and they are represented even in the special forces’ units such as the Military Police Detachment for Special Purposes – “Cobras” or the 72nd Special Operations Brigade of the Serbian Armed Forces. Statistics from the Ministry of Defence show that the share of women among
non-uniformed personnel (civilians) in the MoD and in the Serbian Armed Forces (SAF) is currently 54.23%, while the representation of women in the total number of professional military personnel is 10.59%. Similar to many other countries in the region, women are engaged mostly in civilian positions within the defence system. When it comes to the share of women among officers, non commissioned officers (NCOs) and soldiers, Serbia has the highest percentage of women who are professional soldiers – 17.66%. However, a similar trend is not present in the higher ranks, as only 10.24% of women serve as officers and 3.63% of women as NCOs. Still, a slight increase has been noted in all the categories compared to the previous “Balkan Defence Monitor”.

Representation of women in command and leadership positions:

Women are still underrepresented in leadership positions, with 26.88% of them in managerial positions in the MoD and 6.23% holding command positions in the Serbian Armed Forces. The highest rank held by women in the Serbian Armed Forces is still that of Colonel. Serbia is still the only country that has never appointed a woman as defence minister.

Participation of women in peacekeeping operations:

Currently, out of 283 members of the Serbian Armed Forces participating in four UN peacekeeping operations and three EU missions, 43 are women (15.09%). In 2022, there were 88 women in peacekeeping operations.

      1.    Vojkan Kostić, Vojni poziv u Srbiji sve popularniji među ženama [Military service is becoming ever more popular among women in Serbia], Balkan Security Network, 21 Jan 2023, https://www.balkansec.net/post/vojni-poziv-u-srbiji-sve-popularniji-me%C4%91u-%C5%BEenama

2023 – Balkan Defence Monitor
Women In Defence System – Serbia

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