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23 ‘Influential Croatian Women’ around the world awarded 

23 ‘Influential Croatian Women’ around the world awarded 

(Photo: Croatian Women’s Network™/Mreža hrvatskih žena)

The Croatian Women’s Network™/Mreža hrvatskih žena, based in Toronto, was in Zagreb for the sixth time where they awarded 23 “Influential Croatian Women” awards to Croatian women from ten countries. 

They also held the international conference “Progress of women. The progress of the economy. Realize your potential!” under the slogan “Her strength”.

There is progress in the field of gender equality, the number of women in politics and in leadership positions is increasing, women are economically empowered, but there is still a gap in the salaries of women and men and women do not have equal business opportunities and possibilities, participants of the sixth international conference “Progress of Women” heard . 

The conference was held in Zagreb, on March 8, 2023, and was organized by the Croatian Women’s Network™/Mreža hrvatskih žena.

23 ‘Influential Croatian Women’ around the world awarded 

(Photo: Croatian Women’s Network™/Mreža hrvatskih žena)

Caroline Spivak, founder of the Croatian Women’s Network, which gathers 600 members from all over the world, pointed out that “the economy grows the more women work”.

“Women are pilots, engineers, nuclear physicists, presidents of states and directors of some companies, but at the same time they are mothers, sisters and guardians of their families”.

It is necessary to motivate women to become even more active and “become agents of change”, said Spivak.

She decided to initiate change and encourage women to venture into business ventures and be rewarded for it. The project has been connecting women from all over the world for six years, and they all have a common origin.

23 ‘Influential Croatian Women’ around the world awarded 

(Photo: Croatian Women’s Network™/Mreža hrvatskih žena)

The youngest winner of the “Influential Croatian Women” award, Dalia Alić from Austria, a film producer, communications manager and international relations intern, warned that women around the world are lagging behind in terms of participating in more advanced types of access to the digital economy: access to skills, opportunities for entrepreneurship and leading positions. 

Also, the underrepresentation of women, especially dark-skinned women, in the digital and ICT sector is growing with the transition from the education system to the labor market. We are at an important turning point for the creation of an inclusive digital world, and the stimulation of female potential and other underrepresented groups could be the key to a more equal society.

“Today we received information that, for the first time in history, every functional parliament in the world has a female representative,” Alić pointed out and added that such developments motivate us to further improve the position of women.

23 ‘Influential Croatian Women’ around the world awarded 

(Photo: Croatian Women’s Network™/Mreža hrvatskih žena)

“Gender equality is the highest value of the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia and one of the main values of the European Union,” said the high patron of the conference, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman.

He welcomed the intention of the Croatian government to adopt the National Plan for Gender Equality until 2027, which will contribute to “creating conditions of equal opportunities and economic empowerment of women”.

The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development will support the financing of projects by women and entrepreneurs with a total of seven million euros until 2024, and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development will allocate around 265 thousand euros to encourage competitiveness, Grlić Radman said.

MVEP supported the financing of five projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Tanzania and Kenya in the amount of 200 thousand euros to encourage education and employment of women.

Martina Ciglević, representative of President Zoran Milanović, pointed out that International Women’s Day “is an opportunity to remember that gender equality is not just an abstract concept, but a fundamental human right necessary to make our society more resilient, advanced and better”.

Economic empowerment of women contributes to society as a whole, the conference heard. The panel on the topic of women’s entrepreneurship was led by Antonija Trupinić, master of aeronautical engineering, HRZ pilot, flight instructor, successful business woman.

23 ‘Influential Croatian Women’ around the world awarded 

(Photo: Croatian Women’s Network™/Mreža hrvatskih žena)

After living in New York, Amsterdam, Florida and California, American Sara Dyson moved to Split. Through the blog ‘Expat in Croatia’, she helps foreigners to better adapt to Croatian society and is called an expert on Croatian bureaucracy. Sara turned her love for Croatia into a successful business. She said that it is important for women in entrepreneurship to have a community of women who support them.

“A woman should lend a hand to a woman and be a support,” added Dr. sc. Cathy Gorn, director of the organization ‘National History Day’ and professor of history at the prestigious American University of Maryland, College Park.

Connected by knowledge, persistence and empathy for the needy, four professors, Ivana Dobrotić, Olja Družić Ljubotina, Marijana Kletečki Radović and Antonija Petričušić from the Study Center for Social Work and the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, were awarded the ‘Influential Croatian Women’ award for the successfully implemented initiative ‘The right of every child on a school meal’, which was adopted by the Croatian Government. They advocate changing policies that deal with children’s nutrition in schools and deal with the problems of child poverty, public policies, human and children’s rights. 

They are extremely proud that the profession got the opportunity to propose a measure that came to life in practice. “The education system is the key to the success of our society, and the issues of school meals and poverty are inseparable. This is the first big step in solving them!”, they said.

The winner of the “Influential Croatian Women” award, Lidija Kovařίk, director of the Museum of Illusion Art from Prague, lawyer, writer and life coach, presented the book “Living the Life of Our Dreams”.

“The book was created as a result of my great love for psychology, my desire to help people and my passion for writing. It is a manual that is rich in examples from everyday life in order to explain this theory, to inspire and motivate every reader and to say that with a little correction in life, absolutely everything is possible.’’

Women play a crucial role in preserving the Croatian identity and language among the Croatian emigrant communities, but also in the minority communities. Katarina Čeliković, acting director of the Institute for the Culture of Vojvodina Croats, said that the Croatian community in Serbia received minority status 20 years ago. 

That was when the construction of Croatian institutions in that country and education in the Croatian language, preservation of culture, cultural identity, but also the right to information and the right to use the Croatian language began. They recently launched the project “Years of New Revival” with the aim of preserving Croatian identity and cultural memory in a time when Bunjevac’s ikavica is denied as a Croatian language. “We are making great efforts to preserve native languages throughout Vojvodina,” said Čeliković and pointed out that their goal is to preserve the language as an integral part of the Croatian language.

State Secretary of the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, Zvonko Milas, thanked all award winners and the Croatian Women’s Network for promoting Croatian excellence in the world.

“They are inspiration and inspiration for the generations to come, and the Central State Office for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia supports projects by which we recognize ourselves as members of the Croatian nation, language, culture, tradition and identity and will be your faithful partner in the organization of everything that contributes connecting the big Croatian global family,” said State Secretary Milas.

23 ‘Influential Croatian Women’ around the world awarded 

(Photo: Croatian Women’s Network™/Mreža hrvatskih žena)

Minister Grlić Radman said that he sees the added value of the global platform – the Network of Croatian Women in connecting Croatia with the Croatian community abroad through successful Croatian women.

“Thus, we contribute, not only to the improvement of the position of women in the world, but also to the communities of Croats outside the Republic of Croatia, as well as to the preservation of the Croatian value identity outside the borders of the homeland,” said the minister.

The founder of CWN™/MHŽ, Caroline Spivak, concluded that the Network celebrates women’s achievements for the sixth year on International Women’s Day, warns of the importance of gender equality and wants to influence the numerous communities in which Croatian women live with such values.

“I see this award as recognition for my life’s work,” said M.Sc. sc. Jadranka Luketa-Marković, master beekeeper and apitherapist, lecturer and mentor at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation in Zagreb, who was awarded for the inclusion and integration of people with disabilities.

23 ‘Influential Croatian Women’ around the world awarded 

(Photo: Croatian Women’s Network™/Mreža hrvatskih žena)

This year’s 23 winners of the prestigious “Influential Croatian Women” awards come from Argentina, Austria, Chile, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, Peru, the United States of America and Serbia.

You can find out more about the winners here

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