The next morning of the inauguration of the new US President, thousands or women and men in various countries across the world joined Women's March. More than 5 million human rights activists came together to deny the offensive, denigrating, sexist, racist and misogynist language used by the new US President during the election campaign. Having started in Washington D.C. – firstly to address the needs and demands of marginalized groups in USA – the movement got an impetus to later take global dimensions, thus turning itself into a proactive international initiative which made individuals stand up to protect the rights of women and other groups as a response to the rhetorics of far-right political wing in the world.
In Kosovo, the Women's March, which was organized on 21 January by the Kosovo Women's Network (KWN), was supported by men, women, and young people whose goal is to protect the human rights.
The Republic of Kosovo, albeit a small country with extremely small influence on global politics, joined this march, given that in Kosovo the rights of women and persons from other marginalized groups, such as the disabled persons, persons from ethnic minority groups, persons from LGBTI groups, have also been the target of threats and violation of human rights. To join millions of activists across the world and to address the needs and demands of the Kosovo citizens, through the march, there was a call to stop violence against women; to respect the women's right to employment; to respect the rights of the disabled, to respect the LGBTI persons' rights; to respect the right to reproductive health; and to put a stop to the use of sexist language. All of these were transmitted with a joint message – the women's rights are human rights.
Through research and daily activities, KWN considers that in Kosovo the violence against women continues to be quite evident. In 2015, 68% of women in Kosovo declared that they have experienced domestic violence and 64.1% declared that they have been sexually harassed. The participation level of women in the labour market continues to be very low – only 18.1%. Of 5000 registered blind persons or persons with sight impairment, only 30 have found a paid job in Kosovo; daily threats and rejections against LGBTI persons remain a great concern for the Kosovo society.
Furthermore, Kosovo continues to face Kosovo politicians and leaders who use a sexist and denigratory language towards women. They continue to call their women colleagues by offensive names, and are attempting through their sexist language to discourage women in power, to silence them, and to make them obedient to the orders of their colleagues, who oftentimes do not mind using words like: “cow”, “hyenas cultivating whoredom", "grazing sheep", including cases where the President of the Assembly says "suck my ***" to his woman deputy colleague.
Through this march, organized to the defense of human rights, Kosovo politicians and leaders were reminded of the use of such language being unacceptable, and that we will not stop until all women enjoy equality and harmony at all levels of governance in the society.
KWN wishes to thank the March supporters because it is only by standing together that we can make a change towards enabling the full and non-discriminatory adherence to human rights. Standing together, we should continue to work peacefully while being aware that there is no real peace without justice and equality for everyone.