These are this year's winners of the Women on Women Award!

On Wednesday, March 8th, we announced the winners of the Women on Women awards!

This year's award winners are: Tita Mayer; journalist and editor of Radio Slovenia, who is raising awareness about the position of women in Slovenia; Feminalz; a collective of transgender entities, which expresses itself through its choreographic and performative practice in the feminist Technoburlesque Tatovi podob; Jasna Podreka, sociologist, researcher, who works in the field of prevention of violence against women; Lezbična četrt, festival that reflects and co-creates local lesbian art, movement, community and creativity; and Nada Žgank, a photographer who significantly contributes to the preservation of cultural memory and the historicization of numerous artistic projects, social-activist initiatives, festivals, performances, concerts and exhibitions. Congratulations!


Opening address by the City of Women Commission for the Women on Women Award 2023 

This year’s City of Women Commission for the WOW — Women on Women Award has chosen from a wide range of nominated individuals and collectives from all parts of Slovenia. More than 40 of them were nominated this year, and certainly they all deserve recognition for their oftentimes groundbreaking work in the Slovenian socio-political and cultural environment.


We wish to pay tribute to the long-standing work of female activists and collectives who persistently and explicitly draw attention to social injustices related to women and minority issues, who reveal social mechanisms of oppression and devaluation, and highlight the vital significance of protecting vulnerable people and those in danger. We equally wish to pay tribute to those who, by means of their activist-artistic work, document important events and key actors, who challenge the status quo and thus contribute to building a new community that could be founded on interpersonal connection, recognition and support — in short, on solidarity.


We therefore honour individuals whose work addressing the unfair treatment and violence against women is one of the most unquestionably topical issues: the situation of women in rural areas, the societal attitude towards feminist issues and the pressing topic of intimate partner homicides of women in Slovenia. Of course, both the members of the WOW Commission as well as the laureates and the nominees themselves are all too aware of the fact that these issues, so bravely dealt with by Jasna Podreka and Tita Mayer are not only relevant today, they were already relevant yesterday and will remain relevant tomorrow. Furthermore, all these very current and valid initiatives for minority rights, women’s and queer festivals and movements which often remain on the periphery of our society, have been well documented by the seemingly ubiquitous photographer Nada Žgank, who has established important foundations for visual activist-artistic history in recent years.


We also chose to award two collectives, who have been active in Slovenia for several years. The festival Lesbian Quarter was founded in 2014 as part of the Lesbian Section LL of the ŠKUC Association. Its team has since organised many socio-political, cultural and artistic events, alerting the public to the fact that the question of lesbianism must continue to be addressed locally, rather than set aside with a superficial declaration of a social equality.


The collective of transgender identities Feminalz deconstruct social norms and political correctness in their ever fluid feminist techno-burlesque cabaret show Image Snatchers, a sharp political satire that at once makes us both laugh and fill us with horror. 

Sadly, this year’s commission, as did the previous ones, continues to expose the worrying fact that a large number of activists and collectives operate in precarious circumstances. Their work is often simplistically viewed by the public as a kind of “volunteering” by choice, thus denying and devaluing their socio-political engagement and struggle. Their situation is often made difficult by class, nationality, ethnicity and other “quieter”, easily overlooked barriers and obstacles. This is all the more reason why their long-standing social engagement deserves all our respect and recognition. We declare, loud and clear, that the work of all the laureates and nominees, both individuals and collectives, is well seen and heard! The efforts of our comrades are never, and could never be in vain!


We have been honoured to participate in the City of Women Commission for the Women on Women Award.


Pia Skušek, Evan Grm, Tamara Zablocki, Neža Oder and Suzana Tratnik, 

members of the City of Women Panel for the Women on Women Award 2023. 

Evan Grm (The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy) is a representative of the Legal Network, which has established the systematic cooperation between the human rights protection civil society, legal professionals and law firms. 

Suzana Tratnik is a writer, translator, publicist and long-time lesbian activist. As a precarious worker in culture and activism for almost forty years, she has enriched the cultural and social environment for LGBT communities and society as a whole. 

Neža Oder (Koroška Pride) is a representative of the Koroška Pride Institute, which focuses on the development and empowerment of LGBT+ communities in rural areas. Their contribution to the decentralisation of LGBT+ activism has given impetus to other self-organised activist initiatives as well. 

Tamara Zablocki (Association SOS Helpline) is a representative of the Association SOS Helpline, which was the first non-governmental organisation in Slovenia working with violence against women and children. 

Pia Skušek (FPZ Z‘borke) is a member of the renowned music collective FPZ Z’borke, which cultivates and spreads the tradition of rebellion through song, thus mobilising the masses in a unique way, and striving for a better world. 



Jasna Podreka 

Sociologist, researcher and professor Dr Jasna Podreka receives this year’s Women on Women Award for her tireless work in preventing violence against women in Slovenia. Podreka is an assistant professor at the Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, where she was awarded a PhD in 2014. Her doctoral dissertation, titled “Violence against women and intimate partner homicides of women in Slovenia” was followed by a 2017 publication of a scientific monograph “You were that silent thing: intimate partner homicides of women in Slovenia”. Her research and advocacy work is centred around the issues of domestic violence and intimate partner relations, in particular the femicide — a term describing the intimate partner homicides of women — which is the leading cause of violent death for women in Slovenia and globally.

Due to her research work on sexual violence and harassment in academic environment, Podreka has also become a trusted confidant for teaching staff and students at the Faculty of Arts on the subject of harassment, sexual harassment and mobbing. In her educational and mentoring work at the faculty, Jasna Podreka encourages students to explore the topics of violence in their final theses.
Additionally, Podreka volunteers at the Association SOS Helpline for Women and Children Victims of Violence, performing the significant task of raising awareness of the issues about violence against women among the specialist and wider public, thus contributing to a better understanding of the topic as a societal issue, with its causes rooted in traditional patriarchal norms and beliefs.

Over the years, Jasna Podreka’s continuous efforts to prevent both discrimination and violence against women, as well as her proposals for improving the existing legislation and its practical implementation, have undoubtedly contributed to creating a better society for women in Slovenia.


Nada Žgank

 Nada Žgank is an independent photographer based in Ljubljana. In 1995 she graduated from agronomy at the Biotechnical Faculty. During her studies, she volunteered as a photographer in various Roma settlements in Slovenia. As a documentary photographer she mainly covers art and culture, cultural identity practices, as well as social and political activism. She has been closely involved with the cultural scene for many years, both as a permanent collaborator and occasional co-creator of various festivals and the work of several art organisations: City of Women, Red Dawns, ŠKUC — Lesbian Quarter, ŠKUC Theatre, Emanat, Bunker, Mladinsko Theatre, Prešeren Theatre Kranj, Mladi Levi, Exodos, Ex Ponto, Gibanica, Jazz Cerkno, Jazz Festival Ljubljana. Her photographic work has been published in numerous Slovenian print media (MuskaDeloDnevnikMladinaMaskaNarobe). She regularly collaborates with the newspaper Kralji Ulice, and has shot several portraits of its members for the newspaper cover. Her work has been exhibited at several solo and group exhibitions.

Her work contributes significantly to the preservation of cultural memory and the historicization of numerous artistic projects, socio-activist initiatives, festivals, performances, concerts and exhibitions.
Nada Žgank is a photographer, she is “our very own” photographer who is unquestionably and convincingly dedicated to her work. Her approach to photography at various platforms of female (and other) creativity is invariably engaged and innovative.


Tita Mayer 

Journalist and editor at the Radio Slovenia Tita Mayer receives the Women on Women Award for her consistent contribution to raising awareness of the situation of women in Slovenian society and abroad, as well as for her wider journalistic body of work focusing on women’s rights, LGBT+ communities and human rights in general.


The understanding of feminism and the awareness of feminist struggles remain inadequate in Slovenian media environment, where the topics concerning the situation of women and women’s rights are insufficiently covered. The radio podcast series On the right side by Tita Mayer is groundbreaking in this respect as it regularly covers feminist topics. Through her discussions with experts from various fields, Tita Mayer raises the pressing issues of gender equality and women’s rights in an accessible yet comprehensive way. She critically addresses current social issues such as violence against women, the right to abortion in Poland and the USA, under-representation of women in the media and politics, the women’s revolution in Iran, sexual harassment at Slovenian faculties and more. She received the Watchdog Award by the Slovene Association of Journalists in 2022 for her radio programme/podcast On the right side.


Tita Mayer also covers women’s rights and issues, as well as those of the LGBT+ community in her other journalistic work. The topics she investigates span from the accessibility of gynaecological care to family planning legislation and the situation of women in rural areas of Slovenia.

At a time when the Slovenian national radio and television broadcaster is subject to numerous political pressures and attempts at discredit, Tita Mayer’s journalistic work is all the more valuable.



Feminalz/Image Snatchers 

Feminalz is a collective of transgender entities who use choreographic and performative practices as a means of expression performed in their feminist techno-burlesque show Image Snatchers. Since their first performance in 2013 they have been challenging social norms and political correctness with their originally created pieces, staging a sharp political satire by means of contemporary burlesque and cabaret. They use “a fun game of dressing-up” to expose, illuminate and parody those aspects of social madness that at once make the audiences laugh and fill them with horror.


“The techno-burlesque is a silent comedy of the body that parodies the rigidity of social roles,” they say about the show. “It uncritically appropriates, copies and merges femininity, masculinity, family relationships, machismo and other corrupted social roles that are mistakenly considered normative.”

Image Snatchers question ideas of shame, taboos and censorship, placing them in the context of the emerging spaces of queer, the body and (its) representation. By exploring liminal identities and narratives, the Snatchers tenaciously give voice to and create a place for that sort of engaged obscenity which can uncover the perversity of the social norms, to decipher the constructed entrapment, and to liberate by means of embodiment. Their underground performance, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in April this year, is in constant flux and development, each reprise deviating from the previous one. The Image Snatchers — as is the intrinsic nature of all images — are always in the making. They are resident artists at Club Gromka at the Autonomous Cultural Centre Metelkova Mesto.


 ŠKUC — The Lesbian Quarter

The Lesbian Quarter Festival of art and activism, organised by the ŠKUC Association, is a yearly event running continuously since 2014. The Lesbian Quarter is a festival that persists, despite very limited funds, and continues to represent, reflect upon, and co-create local lesbian art, movement, community and creativity.

In its unique way, it creates public spaces for lesbian creativity, places for connection for lesbian individuals, artists and the wider LGBT+ community; both amongst each other and within the wider cultural and artistic scene. Rather than seeking the right place or time for its community, The Lesbian Quarter occupies spaces uncompromisingly, awakening historical lesbian spaces, and breathing into them the spirit of the present community.


The Lesbian Quarter comprises exhibitions, performances, readings, film screenings, book presentations, lesbian tours, round tables, workshops, lectures, concerts, DJ sets, parties, gatherings, and, importantly, a platform for the local artists and diverse lesbian voices.


Whether we identify as lesbian or not, we can be rightly proud of the fact that The Lesbian Quarter emerged from our local environment, where it continues to create, subvert, document, question, and contextualise lesbian realities; and to provide a place for lesbian utopias. The Lesbian Quarter represents the continuity of the long-standing lesbian movement, of the art and the community of our sisters, affirming that the time of lesbianism is always a time of action, not a time of passive comfort or inaction.