Tatjana Nikolić

From holidays with her parents on the Croatian coast, train travels, sports, mountain climbing, and fond high school memories, Tatjana comes from an active childhood life. Born in Niš, Serbia her activism for women started a mere 22 years ago when she started training for the SOS Helpline in 1996, a hotline for women and children who are victims of violence. 

“Women’s experiences of violence that I heard prompted me to fight for the lives of women without violence. Seminars were held, I met various wonderful women from the region and the world, they helped me learn and grow, and feminism became part of my everyday life.”

Furthering her passion in the realm of feminist activism, she established the Center for Girls in 1998, “an organization that empowers girls and young women, through education, activism and creativity, for them to take a better position in society.” She is now the Executive Coordinator for this center.  

“Empowering young girls, girls and women means everything to me, that is the essence of my work and the mission of the Center for Girls. I think that it is necessary to sensitize and inform boys too, despite the fact that our target group are girls. Young people, i.e. children should be taught compassion, tolerance, acceptance of diversity and non-violence starting from kindergarten and throughout the whole schooling.”

One pivotal moment in her career that she will always remember was in April 2012 during one of her first press opportunities with Ana Sofrenović, Rada Boric, and Eve Ensler. Here she describes her experience:

“The gathering of 50 feminists from the region who were at the workshop for the Vagina Monologues, led by Eve. And, at the end of the day, a crowded National Theater Hall, over 500 people, while we, the activists, performed the Vagina Monologues in front of Eve. At the end of the monologue, Eve comes to the stage and raises the entire hall with her energy, with her performance. Like thunder! The event that shifted all my borders, and many others.”

She believes her role in society is to point out the problems women face, be an advocate for those with a silenced voice, and change people’s attitude towards women. She wants the role of women to be represented in a positive light, one of compassion, love, intelligence, and determination. 

Here are a few projects she is most proud of:

  • 23,609 high school students increased their knowledge on prevention of violence against girls, prevention of women trafficking and women’s health through 1,708 educational workshops.
  • Through 4 performances and 2 forum theaters of the Feminist Activist Theater of the Center for Girls, they informed the general population about the issues of violence against women, human trafficking and women’s rights.
  • The project Actively and Publicly against Violence against Women supported by the UNTR in the first year, they educated 630 girls in 4 cities of Serbia on violence prevention and reacting to violence. In the second year, 11 girls will become peer educators on gender violence and will hold 40 workshops with about 600 peers on how to recognize and protect themselves from violence.