When asked about her favorite quote, Jovana refers to the Balkan feminist activist and anthropologist Zarana Papic, “The principle is to cross borders, persistently”.
Indeed Jovana’s activism knows no borders.
A Serbian national, she clearly roots her feminist fights back to the violent recent past of the Western Balkans, and was “inspired by the solidarity and resilience [of] feminist movements in the Balkans” in conflicts times.
Jovana got her degree in Philology at the Belgrade University and immediately enrolled in a Master in Gender Studies. She has contributed to many feminist organizations and movements in her region, and especially BeFem, a feminist cultural center in Belgrade, which organizes a yearly festival, as well as feminist trainings and summer schools.
Passionate about feminist movement building, participatory grant making practices and innovative approaches in philanthropy, she has been working for four years now for FRIDA, the Young Feminist Fund. FRIDA is a youth-led fund that supports global young feminist activism by providing accessible and strategic funding for newly established young feminist-led initiatives through a participatory grant making process.
Its innovative paradigm - the fact that “FRIDA recognizes young feminists as experts of their own reality” - and working methods - providing “space for intergenerational connections where knowledge and experience is shared, so as to document the history of [feminist’s] struggles for stronger, interconnected and more resilient movements” - actively contribute to building a solid young feminist movement worldwide.
Jovana’s feminism is very much linked to her will to empower young people, as the primary actors of change. “For a long time, the role and contribution of youth movements in the social change process hasn’t been recognized as significant. Youth hasn’t been part of the decision-making process at the table, but rather one of the topics”. She sees the new way feminist youth movements are structuring as key to ensuring their sustainable role in our societies. “Young feminist groups [...] are underrepresented in key advocacy spaces and their non-traditional strategies are underfunded. [...] However, young feminist groups are innovative movement-builders that are leading transformative change around the world.”
Solidarity is definitely at the heart of Jovana’s vision, to “build a more just and sustainable world, [...] a world where gender, race, class and sexual orientation would not [...] limit [people’s] opportunities, access and freedoms”. Far from seeing feminism as an isolated fight, she aims at defining joint strategies to achieve collective freedoms: “We cannot envision a world where gender equality is a reality without dismantling other systemic inequalities.”
The Global Progressive Forum will have the pleasure and honor to welcome Jovana as one of the trainer of its workshop “Young people as gender equality global ambassadors: from words to actions -Training session with global young feminists”, organised in the framework of the S&D Group 2018 Youth for Gender Equality Forum.