Women’s organizations active in conversation with the Self-Determination Movement

Before beginning his mandate as Prime Minister, Albin Kurti became the first leader to meet with women’s organizations to discuss with civil society the overall situation of women in Kosovo. The Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) was pleased to participate in the “With Women for Development” dialogue organized by the Self-Determination Movement (Lëvizja Vetëvendosje). The roundtable was opened by Nazlie Balaj, head of the Secretariat for Activist Women in the Self-Determination Movement. She mentioned the importance of social dialogue in Kosovo to build policies that improve women’s position and situation in society.

Kurti, leader of the Self-Determination Movement, spoke to emphasize the success of the women who ran in the October 6 elections, and expressed his willingness to work with civil society and women’s organizations to achieve gender equality.

“In me you will find the man who is interested in helping you get organized. We need more gender solidarity, because you can count on men, but not too much”, Kurti said. “So women being organized is necessary, gender solidarity is necessary. The woman should help one another”.

The lack of implementation of the legal framework regarding gender equality and the various problems women face in their daily lives were among the main topics discussed at this meeting.

Adelina Berisha, Gender-Based Violence Program Manager at KWN, said in her speech that:

“We are pleased that Parliament and MPs are expected to start their mandate on Thursday, and hopefully their work will begin immediately, because those affected by these difficulties are mainly women, who are left behind by many initiatives that have been cut in half, or whose lives have been put at risk. This is especially the case for victims of domestic violence, where today shelters still do not know if they will be able to function in the next two months because the previous government has not implemented the budget for shelters’ support”.

                                                                                     Photo: Lëvizja Vetëvendosje, Facebook

Berisha urged future lawmakers to support continued financial support for shelters and daycare centers for victims of gender-based violence. She further called for adopting the Istanbul Convention in the Kosovo Constitution. She requested that, while drafting secondary legislation and establishing mechanisms required under this Convention, there should be close cooperation with women’s organizations.

Berisha demanded that during the next 4-year mandate of new legislation to be completed, the amendment of the Labor Law should take recommendations from women’s organizations, especially related to maternity, paternity and parental leave provisions. These measures will directly influence creation of employment opportunities for women.

The Law on Health Insurance would directly improve women’s access to health care. In relation to the Civil Code, KWN requested consideration of its recommendations regarding Chapter 1138 Marriage, which required this chapter to be harmonized with the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo.

Among the representatives of women’s organizations, MPs, embassies and various agencies that participated in this dialogue, Ariana Qosaj Mustafa, head of the KWN Board, was present to express her concern for the justice system in Kosovo including the police.

“Making a system of vetting, maybe even increasing the number of women judges, prosecutors, police officers, maybe even adding a gender perspective during the vetting process, to have a justice that is dignified for women too”, Qosaj-Mustafa said. “Because women not believing in justice institutions, also means citizens not trusting the justice system”.

                                                                    Photo: Lëvizja Vetëvendosje, Facebook