April 28, 2023 | Friday

Lorena Krasniqi’s journey as a member of the “Be a Man” club

Lorena Krasniqi, a 17-year-old high school student in Pristina, Kosovo, has been dedicating her efforts to championing gender equality in her community. She recognized the patriarchy’s effects early on and sought to fight against them.

Since a young age, Lorena has observed that the societal gender norms in her community dictate the division of wealth, decision-making, and other aspects of life, which often place women at a disadvantage. By witnessing the inequalities within her own family, she developed a deep passion for advocating and instigating change. But she was also well-aware that her family’s experience is not unique and that gender norms have perpetuated inequality for generations. Women are frequently denied access to inheritance and are excluded from decision-making in households, perpetuating the cycle of inequality. 

At the tender age of 17, Lorena has fearlessly delved into meaningful dialogues with her peers, igniting powerful conversations on the topic of gender equality. In November 2021, YMCA organization visited her school and introduced her to their program Young Men Initiative (YMI), a program that encourages young men and women to take an active role in the fight for gender equality and challenging the harmful gender stereotypes and behaviors that contribute to gender-based violence and discrimination. She was immediately drawn to YMI’s “Be a Man” club, which aims to change perspectives and combat societal constructs. The club organizes meetings and discussions on various topics such as reproductive rights, sex education and mental health.

The dynamic activities and thought-provoking discussions held by the club have played a pivotal role in Lorena’s transformation from an adolescent to a poised young adult. Along with her peers, Lorena has undergone significant shifts in her beliefs and attitudes. For example, she realized that social constructs unfairly hold men to a standard of emotional repression, while simultaneously portraying women as weak and vulnerable.”

Through her unwavering efforts, alongside those of the club’s, she has effectively shed light on the detrimental impact of gender norms and the significance of treating every individual with parity. The club stands tall as a bastion of hope for Lorena and countless young minds alike, empowering them to articulate their opinions without apprehension of being judged or ostracized.

Lorena wants to encourage more of her peers to join the club and to make them aware that there is no gender war, and that men and women are human beings with equal rights.