#ItISMyBusiness – Together against prejudice

November 27, 2023


On the occasion of the "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence" campaign, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Serbia is launching the "Tiče me se" (It IS My Business) campaign for the fifth time to contribute to creating a society that does not tolerate violence against women. This year's campaign is aimed at breaking down gender-based prejudices and examining social norms related to expected gender roles for women and men, as well as changing attitudes that justify violence against women and minimise its consequences. 

Through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, the #TičeMeSe – ItISMyBusiness campaign will present examples of prejudices about the roles of girls and women in society that affect their opportunities for education and employment, political and social participation, as well as their safety. 

The findings of the 2023 Gender Social Norms Index show that almost 90% of people in the world have some kind of prejudice about the roles of women and men in society. This study includes data from 80 countries on gender-based prejudices in the areas of political life, education, the economy, and physical integrity. Just how deeply biases are embedded in society is confirmed by the fact that they are present both among women and men, with men more likely to express negative attitudes towards the role of women. For example, half of the world's population believes that men are better political leaders than women, 46% believe that men have more right to a job than women, while 28% believe that university education is more important for men than for women. 

When it comes to citizens of Serbia, 76% have at least one prejudice about the roles of women and men in society. Even half of men and almost 41% of women in Serbia believe that men are better political leaders and that women having the same rights as men is not necessarily essential for democracy. 43% of men and 19% of women believe that men should have more right to a job than women and that they make better business executives than women do.  Prejudices are least pronounced in the field of education, with just under 13% of men and 8% of women believing that university is more important for men than for women. 

All gender-based bias is potentially harmful, but the one that most directly affects the situation and welfare of women is the one leading to the justification of violence against women and girls. Today, more than a quarter of the world's population believes that it is justifiable for a man to hit his wife. People who believe that violence against women is acceptable may either commit it directly or tolerate it, and social norms that justify violence make it difficult for women to report it and leave the perpetrator. 

The great influence and consequences of prejudices are also confirmed by the findings of the study "Why Women Do Not Report Domestic Violence". They show that for 75% of women, the reason for not reporting violence is fear of the perpetrator, while for 50% of women surveyed, it is shame and embarrassment about the violence they have experienced, as well as fear of condemnation and rejection by their family. 

By breaking down prejudices and promoting equal participation of women in all areas of social and private life, we can all contribute to women living safely and equally contributing to social development, which is also a prerequisite for preventing violence against women.