UN Global Open Day Addresses Women’s Political Participation in Kosovo
Pristina, 6 March 2018 – The 2018 United Nations Global Open Day on Women, Peace and Security was celebrated in Kosovo on 5 March, bringing together Kosovo parliamentarians, politicians, government officials, civil society, activists, and representatives of the international community. The event, which this year focused on women’s political participation, was co-hosted by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and UN Women.
During his opening address, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, Zahir Tanin, spoke of the insufficient empowerment of women in politics.
“While in a number of areas Kosovo has made positive progress in terms of women’s political participation and representation […] the experience of the recent elections has shown that women’s effective participation in politics does not necessarily translate into effective representation in decision-making,” he said.
“Although the quota was observed, there have been setbacks in women’s representation in leadership positions within parties, the government and other decision-making bodies.”
The Vice President of the Assembly of Kosovo, Xhavit Haliti, stated during his remarks that the Assembly had approved a number of laws that gave women equal status and provided safeguards for their rights. He highlighted the importance of women’s further empowerment based on their valuable role in society and their increased engagement in moving Kosovo forward.
Flora Macula, Head of UN Women in Kosovo, said that “democratization of political parties is key for women’s inclusion in decision-making.” She also highlighted the importance of increasing engagement with men and boys.
Following the parliamentary and local elections in Kosovo in 2017, this year’s Global Open Day focused on women’s political participation. The positive progress made by women during the past elections was highlighted, in addition to the remaining challenges.
“Advancing women’s political participation is based on a broader global commitment to women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life,” SRSG Tanin stated. “This is an undertaking that is also crucial to gender equality.”
“Moreover,” he added, “women’s political participation is indispensable to gender justice in order to end inequality, subordination, hierarchical status and asymmetries of political power.”
During the course of the Global Open Day, three separate panels addressed the topic of political participation. The first tried to capture women candidates’ experiences from the 2017 general and local elections; the second tackled the structural barriers to women’s political participation; and the third reviewed the question of gender quotas, evaluating their purpose and potential areas of reform.
SRSG Tanin identified three requirements that remain crucial in promoting women’s effective political participation in Kosovo: fighting deep-rooted patriarchal norms and ensuring that the political climate is free of negative gender-based stereotyping and violence; ensuring substantial support from political parties and especially party leadership for women candidates; and increasing capacity building support for elected women and amplifying their voices, in order to heighten their impact on decision-making processes.
The Global Open Day resulted in a number of concrete recommendations to help improve women’s political participation in Kosovo. These included the need for cultural changes, starting from the family, to address the patriarchal mentality; increased commitment of political parties to gender parity; the importance of political determination by the government to implement the Law on Gender Equality and address electoral reform to promote gender equality; the role of media and civil society in furthering the agenda for women, peace and security; and the importance for the international community to continue helping women and women’s institutions.
Read the full statement of SRSG Zahir Tanin at 2018 Global Open Day in Kosovo here: