Women in Defence System – Serbia – 2024

National Action Plan 1325:

In late 2022, the Ministry of Defence began the process of developing the third action plan with the support of the OSCE Mission to Serbia. However, the first meeting of the government Working Group for the preparation of the National Action Plan for the Implementation of Resolution 1325 of the United Nations Security Council was held in August 2023 1 without presenting a new draft that is publicly available. Considering the dynamics, it can be concluded that the process of evaluating the previous plan and creating a new plan lasted for four years, which is longer than the implementation of the second plan (2017-2020) and may be an indicator of the lack of genuine political commitment to prioritise the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Participation of women in the MoDs and the Armed Forces:

Despite the fact that military service in Serbia is more popular among women than among men, the high turnout of women in military schools and academies has not yet translated into their overall representation in the defence sector. This means that the share of women among non-uniformed personnel (civilians) and uniform personnel in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and in the Serbian Armed Forces (SAF) remains almost unchanged compared to 2022. Currently, around 55% of women preform civilian duties, while 11% of women work as professional military personnel. Nonetheless, Serbia is among the top countries in the region with 18% of women serving as enlisted personnel. However, a similar progress is not visible among officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs), as only 12% of women serve as officers and 4% of women are NCOs. Still, a slight increase has been noted in all the categories compared to 2022.

In the previous period, there have been changes to the uniforms for female officers, non-commissioned officers and cadets which reflects efforts to improve the position of women in the military. 2

Representation of women in command and leadership positions:

Little has changed in the representation of women in leadership positions, as 25% of women hold managerial positions in the MoD, while 7% of women hold command positions in the Serbian Armed Forces. The highest rank held by women in the Serbian Armed Forces is still that of colonel, and not a single woman has been promoted or appointed to a higher rank in the SAF and MoD based on the Decree passed at the beginning of 2023.3

Participation of women in peacekeeping operations:

In 2023, Serbia contributed to eight peacekeeping missions, while women from the Army and police participated in two UN operations (UNFIL and MINUSCA) and two EU operations (EUTM Somalia and EUTM RCA). Compared to 2022, the participation of women in peacekeeping missions slightly decreased, and out of 295 members of peacekeeping forces, 38 women were sent abroad.

      1.  Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Defence, Meeting of Working Group responsible for drafting National Action Plan, 31 August 2023, https://www.mod.gov.rs/eng/20432/sastanak-radne-grupe-za-izradu-nacionalnog-akcionog-plana20432 https://balkandefencemonitor.com/women-in-defence-system-north-macedonia-2023/
      2. Balkan Investigative Network, “Žene vojnici u Srbiji dobijaju poseban donji veš,” [Female soldiers in Serbia receive special underwear], 18 September 2023, https://www.balkansec.net/post/%C5%BEene-vojnici-u-srbiji-dobijaju-poseban-donji-ve%C5%A1
      3. Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Defence, “Minister Vučević presents decrees on promotions and appointments,” 9 March 2023, https://www.mod.gov.rs/eng/19831/ministar-vucevic-urucio-ukaze-o-unapredjenjima-i-postavljenjima19831

2024 – Balkan Defence Monitor
Women In Defence System – Serbia

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