Fierce Women Awards 2020

Together with the non profit media VoxFeminae, this year we are starting an awards ceremony, Fierce Women Awards, recognizing amazing women, our contemporaries, who made significant contributions to gender equality and social justice in Croatia. 

Yesterday evening was a special day. We invited all the awards nominees and their loved ones to the Zagreb bar Botaničar, which as it turned out was too small for all the fierce women who wanted to join us, and pronounced the first 5 winners of the award.

Congrats to the director Dana Budisavljevic, deputy mayor of Glina Branka Bakic Mitic, HGSS member and mountaineering instructor Tatjana Bracanov, director Nora Krstulovic, and the Ženska soba / Women’s Room team led by coordinator Maja Mamula!

Nora Krstulović, director and editor of She has been a tireless activist for free and independent media, the rights of cultural workers, artists and gender equality for years. In the past year, Nora has been engaged in various social initiatives. She was involved in the organization of “Justice for Girls” protest and active in #Spasime Initiative, also she was involved in a campaign by the Croatian Society of Film Directors “I Wan’t To Watch It, HRT Won’t Allow,” in defense of the rights and status of the free artists after the Ministry of Culture’s attempt to pass a harmful new Artists Act. Nora Krstulovic is always clear and vocal against politically conducted culture, art and media.

Ženska soba / Women’s Room team, led by coordinator Maja Mamula, is the only specialized organization in Croatia that has been working on sexual violence issues for 17 years and ensures that all survivors of sexual violence receive free, effective and individual support. After all those years of dedicated teamwork, the issue of sexual violence has finally come to the public’s attention this year in Croatia, but the number of people seeking help from Women’s Room has also increased many times over. We are waiting for the Government of the Republic of Croatia to become aware that the work of Women’s Room urgently needs to be provided with adequate and continuous financing and that the system of combating sexual violence needs to be expanded to at least three more Centers for the victims of sexual violence. It should also be remembered that Women’s Room has worked tirelessly to develop public policies and improve legislation, and since the very passage of the Criminal Code in 2013 they have insisted on abolishing the crime of sexual intercourse without consent. This year they finally made it!

Branka Bakic Mitic is a member of the “People for People” Initiative and Deputy Mayor of Glina, selected as an independent candidate from the Serb national minority, who has devoted her so far mandate to helping people in the Banovina area. Initially she visited the people livnig just an hour away from the capital Zagreb without electricity, water and sanitation, just to let them know they are not forgotten. After failing to get any help from politicians, she joined forces with Maja Sever and Mateja Melobi, and set up the “People for People” Initiative. With the help of numerous donors and volunteers, Branka was able to help hundreds of people, either with a food package, either by bringing in a stove or by changing windows. For over a year, Branka has been on the field tirelessly coordinating aid distribution in Banovina, and recently, with the organization Zelena akcija, launched a humanitarian crowdfunding campaign aimed at bringing electricity through solar systems to five unpowered households.

Director, producer and editor, one of the initiators of the ZagrebDox Festival and only the third woman to win the Golden Arena for Best Director at the Pula Film Festival for “The Diary of Diana B“. After 20 years of professional filmmaking, last year Dana Budisavljevic presented a film about a fierce woman Diana Budisavljevic, a heroine who organized the rescue of children from the Ustasha concentration camps during the World War II, participated in their care and kept a record of their personal information so that the identity of the children would not be lost. We are not forgeting the other Dana’s films: “Everything’s Fine” in which she portrays the life of a sex worker Lidia Šunjerga and “Family Meals” in which she talks about the process of coming out in her own family. Undoubtedly, Budisavljevic is one of Croatian filmmakers who has marked the last decade in this cultural field.

Tatjana Bracanov, mom, grandmother, sister, friend, wife, member of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service Šibenik, guide instructor of the Croatian Mountaineering Association and Zen Yoga teacher. At the end of July 2019, she walked the entire 1,300 km long Via Dinarica trail that stretches along the Dinarides from Slovenia to Albania. In doing so, she became the first woman from Croatia and the first woman from Southeast Europe to cross the white path of the Via Dinarica continuously and independently. This venture, she said, goes beyond the personal significance – it is a promotion of Via Dinarica’s economic and tourism potential, but also of women’s courage, perseverance and endurance. “My dear women, if a grandmother of 50 years and 55 kilos can travel 1300 kilometers of Dinarides, 50 percent of which she has never been to, then you can all do whatever you want,” she said.