Vjosa Dobruna, a Human Right Activist and member of KWN’s Advisory Board discusses strategies for increasing women’s participation in politics.

Women Strategize for Municipal Elections

KWN organized a discussion on 29 Mar., during which 27 women from seven municipal assemblies and KWN member organizations strategized for women’s greater participation in the upcoming municipal elections. Vjosa Dobruna, a Human Rights Activist and member of KWN’s Advisory Board led the discussion.

Participants sought to generate ideas for increasing the number of women in municipal assemblies and in leadership positions at the municipal level.
“This meeting opened discussions about empowering women, an obligation and mandate for KWN,” said Vjosa Dobruna.

The meeting also served to encourage more women to run for mayor. Participants discussed which qualities women candidates should have: they should be feminists, have a different approach than men, be active in society and have the political will to promote gender equality.
“I appreciate this bold initiative, and I think we can all contribute continuously in this area,” said Violeta Dema, a representative from the Gjakova Municipal Assembly.
The discussion also encouraged cooperation among diverse women and emphasized the important role that civil society can play.
“This meeting provided us with the opportunity to talk about what we as civil society can do to help,” said Drita Vukshinaj from NGO    
Women for Women with Disabilities in Prizren.
Some conclusions that resulted from the meeting included:

       o Work with women candidates and political parties so that parties winning seats in municipal assemblies ensure that women r 
           receive decision-making positions.

       o Create an enabling environment for more women to enter politics by going door-to-door to advocate for citizens to vote for women 

       o Encourage political parties to nominate unanimously a woman candidate for the position of mayor in upcoming elections and 
          create a suitable environment for her campaign.

       o Organize media campaigns to present accurately women’s campaign platforms.

       o Create a new section on KWN’s website and/or a Facebook forum where women can share ideas and discuss strategies for        
          furthering women’s participation in municipal governance.
       o Encourage continued involvement of women in municipal assemblies even after retirement so that they can share their experience
          and knowledge.
“There was fear among women due to their previous experiences because women lacked support,” Vjosa Dobruna concluded. “But from their fear and prior obstacles we will learn and know better how to address these issues in the future.”