On July 13, at the Sirius Hotel in Pristina, the first meeting of the Coalition for Equality Advocacy Group was held. During the meeting of the Coalition on June 22nd, based on the fact that working towards meeting the common vision and mission for empowering and improving the position of women in politics and decision-making and achieving gender equality in Kosovo, regardless of political preference, gender age, ethnicity, disability, religion, geographic position, level of education or socio-economic status, members of the Coalition decided to initially work with two groups: Mentoring Group and Advocacy Group.
The Advocacy Group started working today with discussions on improving the legal framework to adequately serve equal representation of women and girls in the political sphere. Participants analyzed and discussed the identified problems and recommendations for improving the legal framework that emerged from the first meeting of the initiative “Strengthening Women’s Participation in Policy and Decision-Making”.
Coalition members once again stressed that one of the key problems that could affect the low rate of participation of women and girls in politics is the non-harmonization of laws, in particular the Law on Elections and the Law on Political Parties with the Law on Gender Equality, which foresees 50% participation of women in the Parliament and the assemblies. Harmonization should be done in accordance with the Law on Civil Servants, particularly the payroll section, taking into account the non-financing of women’s campaigns at local or central elections.
Discussing the lack of application of sanctions for non-implementation of Laws and the lack of harmonization of laws, representatives of the Ombudsperson’s Office informed the presenters of the Opinion, an analysis paper that is being drafted by the Ombudsman’s Office interpreting and referencing laws in relevant institutions’ affairs. This means that the Opinion will facilitate the understanding that the special law, in this case the Law on Gender Equality specifically, derogates the general basic law, or in other words, a later law applies over an earlier law. Therefore the Coalition may refer to the Opinion of Laws whenever advocating for harmonization and enforcement of laws.
More concretely, participants agreed to initiate concrete steps and activities to stress the spirit and at the same time the mission of this Coalition. This includes planning of gatherings in various municipalities to demonstrate the willingness to raise and empower each other. Another important recommended activity would be a joint protest to react and block election processes if women and girls are not equally represented on the electoral list.
This would prove that when women solidarize and raise their voice to empower each other, changes are achievable even in the absence of sanctions.
This meeting was supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), while the first two meetings of the Coalition for Equality held in June were enabled by the Office of the Special Representative of the European Union in Kosovo.