February 22, 2016 | Monday

The Civil Society’s Active Role in Improving Gender Equality

As part of its bimonthly campaign on active civil society, the EU Information and Cultural Centre in Pristina organised a workshop with students on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) policies. Donjeta Morina from Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) explained to participants that Gender Responsive Budgeting means budgeting for equality and social justice as well as it serves as a guideline to budget planning. It is a rather new concept for Kosovo despite the fact that it has been mentioned by the government and by various civil society organisations and donors for the past five years.

“Ultimately, Kosovo is slowly heading towards the institutionalization of GRB, and the first success includes the fact that Gender Responsive Budgeting is now a legal obligation for all budget organizations. However, more time, mentoring, and political will be needed to fully institutionalize it”, says Donjeta Morina, the Capacity Development Coordinator at Kosovo Women’s Network.

Gender inequality remains one of the most widespread developmental and social problems in Kosovo. Morina notes that men and women are not equal economically, politically, culturally, nor socially. According to Kosovo Women’s Netwok statistics women lag behind in most spheres, being underprivileged and underrepresented in most areas of life.

“Data show that 91.8% of all businesses are owned by men, compared to the 8.2% owned by women. Further, only 7.9% of women own property, compared to 83.4% of men (see Kosovo Gender Profile). The recent Labour Market Survey of 2014, shows that unemployment figures are much higher for women and young women, then for men and young men. Unemployment rate for women is 41.6%; while for men it is 33.1%. Figures are even more frightening for young women with 71.7% of them being unemployed compared to 56.2% of young men. Moreover, Kosovo has no women party leaders, while only 2 out of 20 ministers are women. At the local level women make up only 15.3% of all decision making posts,” added Donjeta Morina of Kosovo Women’s Network.

According to her, the role of civil society organizations in improving gender equality is crucial, and can be done through two main ways: first through locally empowering women, and second through advocacy initiatives at local and central level.  “Many KWN members work with women in their communities; empowering them economically and politically. This is very important work since it reaches even the most marginalized women, including rural women from various ethnicities. Additionally, many KWN members engage in advocacy initiatives at both the local and central level. Advocacy is a very crucial instrument that can be used by CSO’s in improving gender equality in their communities. It can help in changing public policies so that they reflect principles of gender equality,” concluded Donjeta Morina, the Capacity Development Coordinator at Kosovo Women’s Network.