14 Sep 2018

Serbia unveils its unpopular population policy

Serbian Ministry of Labor representative Milena Antić stated in a TV interview that women should take a job with the intention of working -- not becoming pregnant -- while explaining the new support system for Serbian mothers. 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Serbia unveils its unpopular population policy - NewsMavens
Pregnant woman, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

The public labeled it as sexism, but what the Milena Antić told the media was the plain truth. Some women who have only recently started working are not allowed more than 900 Serbian Dinars (less than 8 Euros) a month if they give birth. 

But Antić's boss, Minister of Labor Zoran Đorđević told media that his employee will be "faced with consequences for her scandalous statement" and apologized to citizens. 

The Minister is well aware of the fact that there are thousands of women who, exploited by their employers, spend years and decades working in the "black market" without any rights and any hope of ever having any form of maternity support. And as Minister of Labor, he should be well informed about numerous cases of women getting fired when their bosses find out about their pregnancies. 

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Details from the story:

  • According to the newly introduced policies aimed at boosting birth rates, the amount of money that a new mother gets depends on various factors, among them -- how many children she has and for how long she has had continuous employment. 
  • Women who have been continuously employed for less than 18 months can get only a small portion of financial support amounting to less than 1,000 Serbian Dinars per month. 
  • According to the Statistical Institute, the Serbian population declined by 385,000 people between 2006 and 2016.
  • Serbia's campaign for population increase, announced earlier this year, was criticized by local women groups as degrading to women, who were depicted as "baby-making machines."

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