Centre for Women's Studies was initiated by the feminist activist group "Woman and Society". Its first experimental one-semester course started symbolically on March 8, 1992.
The Centre was initially conceptualised as a peacetime endeavour. However, from its inception and throughout the first decade of its activities, it worked against the backdrop of wars fought in our recent history (1991-1999). Consequently, this educational, enlightenment project was never value-neutral, nor has it ever presented itself as such. Its significant parameters were its clear political, pacifist, and anti-nationalist stance, as well as its groundedness in feminist activism.
In the beginning, CWS operated as a comprehensive, interdisciplinary educational project with its teaching, research, and publishing programmes. At the centre of all its activities were the questions of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and race. CWS was dedicated to theoretical explorations of the possibilities of resistance against exclusion and discrimination, aiming to contribute towards the culture of tolerance and diversity.
The key moment in the history of the Centre for Women's Studies was the establishment and institutionalisation of women’s studies programmes at the University of Belgrade, which had been an integral component of our long-term strategy. After lengthy negotiations, a whole set of our programmes was officially recognised and accredited by the University of Belgrade. Additionally, Centre for Gender and Politics was founded at the Faculty of Political Sciences, as an institution set up to develop and promote gender studies. Today these two Centres work in tandem, the latter working within the established, institutional framework, and the former outside it - both taking bold and creative steps.
Besides the teaching programme, during the past twenty years the Centre has developed other activities which support its lectures and enrich its educational profile. Most important among them have been publishing activities (Women’s Studies journal - now titled Genero, first issued in 1995; a series of translations and books written by local authors), the library (started in 1994), and research activities.
The founders and members of the Centre's first Academic Board in 1991/1992 were Marina Blagojević, Neda Božinović, Biljana Dojčinović Nešić, Sonja Drljević, Daša Duhaček, Jasmina Lukić, Lepa Mlađenović, Zorica Mršević, Žarana Papić, Slavica Stojanović and Jasmina Tešanović. In the beginning, all activities of the Centre were coordinated by Daša Duhaček and Sonja Drljević.
From 1998, the teaching, publishing and research programmes were organised by the co-ordination team: Daša Duhaček, Dragana Popović, Jelisaveta Blagojević, Biljana Dojčinović Nešić and our long-term, trusted finance co-ordinator, Vajka Anđelković. It was the same team, except for Biljana Dojčinović, that continued to coordinate the Centre until the renewal of its legal registration, required by the new law in 2011.
Teaching and other programmes required great responsibility from the Academic Board. For a number of years its members were Staša Babić, Marina Bogdanović, Zorica Ivanović, Snježana Milivojević, Olivera Milosavljević, Zorica Mršević, Vanda Perović, Ružica Rosandić, Dubravka Stojanović, and Ljubinka Trgovčević. Since 2008 they were joined by Jana Baćević, Katarina Lončarević, Marina Simić, and Adriana Zaharijević.
As for our administrative team, for over a decade its activities were organised and tirelessly carried out by Slađana Radulović, who worked with students and lecturers, dealt with teaching programmes and research projects, administrative and technical issues, and much more. For years the team also relied on the dedicated work of Bosa Mitić and Snežana Škundrić. For a period of time we were assisted by Aleksandar Backović, Ivana Ivković, Uroš Miloradović, Dragan Karalić, Monika Alovjanović, Aleksandra Lukić; finally Biljana, Aleksandar and Vladimir Vučinić were our web administrators and computer consultants.
One of our most valuable resources, the library, has been in continuous development for over two decades, first through the dedicated efforts of Dragica Vukadinović, Nada Popović, Jadranka Radenković, and Jelena Angelovski who have each, and in that order, served as our librarians; today that duty is assumed by Mirela Šantić.
The Žarana Papić Bequest, as well as our Archive, have been carefully set up by Jasmina Alibegović who continues to maintain them.
Since 2019, the Centre's legal representatives are Daša Duhaček and Mirela Šantić. The current Board members are Ana Stolić, Marina Bogdanović, Snežana Škundrić and Ivana Ćirković.