80th Anniversary of the Anti-Fascist Womens' Front of Yugoslavia

The year 2022 was marked by women's protests throughout the countries of the Western Balkans. In Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other countries, women took to the streets to fight for a safer environment, respect for their rights, and gender equality. It is precisely this state of endangerment of women and the almost daily struggles around the world that made today's commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Anti-Fascist Women's Front of Yugoslavia important for all women throughout the former republics of the joint state.

The Anti-Fascist Women's Front of Yugoslavia was founded in 1942 in Bosanski Petrovac, where a ceremonial commemoration was held today, attended by delegates from all the republics and provinces of the former common state: activists, descendants of AFŽ members and partisans, scientists, politicians of social democratic parties and leftist movements, artists, journalists and other engaged women from the former Yugoslavia. Through two events, the Ceremonial Academy in Bosanski Petrovac, the founding place of AFŽ Yugoslavia, and the Working Conference in Bihać, the memory of the struggle of the women of Yugoslavia against fascism and the Women's Anti-Fascist Front as a unique, emancipatory and most massive organization from the Second World War to today was revived. The program of the formal academy included speeches by prominent women fighters for women's rights and equality, a presentation of the history of AFŽ Yugoslavia, and an artistic program in which the women's choir "Lira" from Banja Luka performed Partisan, and workers' songs and a multimedia play performed by an all-female troupe from Montenegro. The play is titled "The political history of women of Montenegro" and was created with the support of UNDP to commemorate 70 years of women's right to vote, based on the text of Nataša Nelević, directed by Marija Perović.

Sonja Lokar, an activist from Slovenia, pointed out: "We gathered because we believe that the participants of the first AFŽ Yugoslavia conference dreamed, fought, and died for a society that is possible to dream of and worth fighting for even today, at the beginning of the 21st century: for a world of peace, equality, freedom, solidarity, basic well-being for all, for a society in which our female voices will be heard and equally respected." Lokar stressed that "we can defend and reward the acquired rights of women who live from their work only with collaborative platforms, work, which will overcome all state borders and all divisions, only in this way can we prevent something from happening to us that happened quickly and terribly to women, and not only them, in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan. The danger becomes all the greater because, this time, a climatic cataclysm threatens. Fascism changes its coat, but not its character".

Nađa Bobičić, a delegate from Serbia, said: "In recent decades, many women's rights have been threatened, both work, gender, and political, anti-fascist values are relativized, the quality and dignity of life have been lost. If in these conditions, we welcome eighty years since the founding of AFŽ, the question that inevitably arises is - what will we do in the next twenty years to celebrate the centenary in a society worthy of the legacy of the organization that was the Anti-Fascist Front of Women of Yugoslavia? If they could, can we, must we?"

The AFŽ 80th anniversary program continued on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. working conference in Bihać. The event was organized and supported by the Women's Platform for the Development of Serbia and the German political Foundation Friedrich Ebert, with its offices in Belgrade and its regional office in Sarajevo.

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