Meet Nevena, our new Public Policy Coordinator

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am relatively new to Calgary, having moved here just a few years ago from my hometown of Belgrade, Serbia, but the city has grown on me and felt like home for a while now. I grew up in Belgrade, but I spent a lot of my adult life living in different European cities, mostly to go to school. I have a BA in History, and two Masters degrees, one in Gender Studies, and the other in Public Policy. In my professional life, I’ve been pretty lucky in that my core interests were always able to find expression in my work – over the years, I’ve worked to support and empower women in politics, build the capacity of gender equality advocates, and influence public policies so that they reflect women’s needs and experiences. When not working, I like to spend time with my family and friends, just hanging out or walking around our neighborhood.

What is your personal definition of feminism?

Feminism is about recognizing the multiple oppressions that women face; it is about taking action to create equal rights and opportunities for women and men, and conditions for their full participation in both public and private spheres of life. An understanding that other categories of difference (such as race, class, nationality, sexual orientation, and others) intersect with gender to create injustice and social inequality is really important for a truly successful feminist politics.

What brought you to the Women’s Centre of Calgary?

My passions for women’s issues, politics, and comparative social policy structured and steered my learning about Canada, Alberta and Calgary, and helped me find like-minded people and communities that made me feel at home here. One of those communities was the Women’s Centre: I was very excited when first encountered it online, but it took a little encouragement from a fellow feminist who was involved with it to get me to start volunteering there myself. Over the past year, I had the pleasure to serve as a member of the Social Policy Committee at the Centre, and it’s really exciting to be in this role now.

What’s one thing you hope to learn at the Women’s Centre?

I hope to use the Women’s Centre distinctive approach to supporting, connecting and engaging women to learn about the different experiences and perspectives of women who are part of our community, especially their views on policy solutions to issues they experience in their everyday life.

Describe a woman who you admire or who has influenced your life.

The writings of Marina Blagojevic, a Serbian sociologist and gender scholar, on gender regimes, femininity and masculinity in the Eastern European semi-periphery, not only informed my academic and professional engagement with gender and women’s issues, but also helped me find an anchor in the history of strong women and local women’s movements in the Balkans, whose resilience in the face of opposition and resistance to change continues to inspire me.

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