© Embassy of Finland, Pristina
RWL SEE roundtable in Novo Brdo gathered women leaders, decision makers and civil society representatives to discuss the implementation of the Brussels Agreement. The women were in particular eager to learn about the progress and whether the agreement will improve their unsatisfactory situation.
Despite the fairly progressive legal framework and several existing mechanisms promoting gender equality, women in Kosovo still experience vast equity gaps in terms of socio-economic situation and political decision-making. Unemployment in general is undoubtedly the most critical problem Kosovo is facing but the situation looks particularly dire for women. According to Kosovo Gender Profile only 18 per cent of women compared to 55 per cent of men are working in the formal labour market. UN Women and the Kosovo Agency for Statistics estimate that four out of five victims of domestic violence are women and girls. Moreover, women remain underrepresented in decision making processes at all levels.
Gender equality is protected by the Kosovo Constitution, which provides for "gender equality as a basic value for democratic development of the society, equal possibilities for the participation of women and men in political, economic, social, cultural, and other areas of social life.” The Law on Gender Equality prohibits all direct and indirect forms of gender discrimination, while the Electoral Law requires a 30 % quota for women’s and men’s participation in national and municipal levels. Moreover, the Government of Kosovo has adopted advanced policies to tackle domestic violence and other shortcomings that hinder women's rights and equal opportunities.
Still, implementation remains an issue. The existing strategies seldom receive sufficient funding for realization. Aware of the challenges and need to support the empowerment of women, the Government of Finland through the United Nations Kosovo Team is assisting on the implementation of Kosovo’s law, strategy and action plan against domestic violence. The Gender-based Violence Project supports the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security. This year, in line with the Ahtisaari Plan, the project was scaled up in the Kosovo northern municipalities with Serb majority. Thus, Finland contributes to the implementation of the Brussels Agreement for normalizing the relations between Serbia and Kosovo, enhancing also the economic development and employment of women throughout Kosovo.
However, this is not all. The Embassy of Finland, through the Fund for Local Cooperation (FLC), is supporting the Regional Women’s Lobby for Peace, Security and Justice in South Eastern Europe (RWL SEE). The project “Women together in support to Brussels agreement” aims at bringing closer and building trust between the Kosovo women of different ethnicities, with the special focus on connecting the Kosovo Albanian and Serb communities.
In July 21 and 22, the RWL SEE organized two roundtables, in Gracanica and Novo Brdo, gathering women leaders, decision makers and civil society representatives. The participants listened attentively to the presentation about the Brussels Agreement delivered by the Minister for Dialogue, Edita Tahiri, the Chair of RWL SEE, discussion circling around ways on how to support its implementation. The women were in particular eager to learn about the progress and whether the agreement will improve their unsatisfactory situation. Gracanica and Novo Brdo women shared their experiences and challenges when it comes to property and ownership rights, unemployment, freedom of movement, various forms of violence, and linguistic rights, among others.
© Embassy of Finland, Pristina
Edita Tahiri, Minister for Dialogue, discussed the Brussels Agreement and its contribution to the stability in the region with Gordana Sobol, Member of Parliament of Croatia, in Gracanica.
Experiences about the process of EU integration process and the influence it has in the position of women were shared by the RWL SEE members from Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia. At the closure of both events, the women concluded that by working together, they can speed up the normalization and integration process and strengthen peace and stability in the country and the region as well.