Women and girls in Kosovo are required to have an iron will in the face of double standards

08.05.2023 Avdyl Gashi

What determines people’s destinies? The fable of the pot of gold encourages work, dedication, and consistency as three main factors which if followed produce the desired result – thus, working the soil year after year, we find the much sought-after pot of gold. From scholars and various scientific research from sociologists, psychologists, and experts in education and career development, we also learn that investing in yourself by getting an education, following professional training, work practice, and consistency are the keys to success. Do these and success is guaranteed.

But apparently, the same rules do not apply to everyone, because the circumstances are not the same for everyone. Over the years, Kosovar society has built a system that favors boys and men through various forms to the point that this social group is an integral and understandable part of Kosovo. On the other hand, girls and women, even after professional training, do not achieve the results they should.

A large number of barriers have been placed in front of women and girls, which start from family education, placing different responsibilities on them, depending on their gender. Domestic care, care for children and the elderly, and financial dependence are just some of the challenges that are presented to girls and women like cards in a gambling game.

Faced with an exclusionary mentality, limiting access from society, discriminatory policies, and gender roles, it is easy to understand that in Kosovo, women and girls are not given equal access to the labor market, especially those in rural areas.

From the discussion “Barriers for equal participation of women in the labor market in the Municipality of Drenas” that was carried out by the Democracy for Development Institute within the salons on Tuesday (April 25, 2023) statistics were also presented that scientifically support the challenges with it which this social group faces.

According to the study “Inactivity of women in the labor market” carried out by D4D, only 1 in 8 women is looking for or employed. “More than 53.2% of the respondents emphasize that the main reason for the exclusion of women from the labor market is that they have the responsibility to take care of children and the elderly in the family, while 30% emphasize the lack of employment opportunities as a reason for the exclusion of women.” This study reveals an even more disturbing statistic when 29% of respondents think that the care of children belongs only to mothers. Which speaks of the internalization of social norms against gender roles.

The panelists in this discussion were Egzona Tërdevci – Assemblywoman from Lévizja Vetëvendosje, Kadire Tahiraj from the NGO Center for the Promotion of Women’s Rights in Drenas and Zahrie Podrimqaku – Office for Gender Equality in the Municipality of Drenas – emphasized that in the local context women, in addition to the challenges of which are the same as those at the national level, they also face challenges such as the lack of transport, jobs, opportunities for self-employment and the lack of nurseries.

Faced with such a system, where social norms put additional barriers for women and girls in Kosovo, we naturally understand that their fate is not self-determined. It remains for the Kosovar society to decide whether it wants to invest all human capital in the function of socio-economic development or operate only with a social group focused on boys and men.

While women with their iron will, must continue the commitment to be an equal part of society by eliminating as many of the barriers as possible which will then enable them a system where personal and professional development is enough to determine their destiny.

This editorial was written in the framework of the project: “Using Development: Increasing women’s access to employment”. the same one from the Norwegian Embassy in Pristina.