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Strengthening Women's Citizenship: Kosovo security sector and decentralisation
Source of the information:
Kosovo has developed a number of policies and mechanisms to respond to the needs of its citizens, in particular in relation to security and decentralisation. Nonetheless, as the study has shown, women face a particularly large gap between formal and substantive citizenship due to discriminatory practices including economic, social and cultural barriers and intra-familial relations; these practices continue to prevent them from fully realising their rights or participating in decision-making. Since state-building processes can fundamentally transform the way in which citizenship is constructed and experienced, they have the potential to transform and strengthen women’s citizenship.
The paper provides the followings findings:
The on-going state-building processes in the security sector are still perceived as interventions requiring a central state level response. Priorities are defined according to a top-down approach, and the inclusion of women and their needs is therefore limited
The negative trend towards women’s low level of representation is noticeable at the executive level. Only two women ministers have been appointed out of 17 ministries, whilst no woman has ever been elected as mayor in any of Kosovo’s 33 municipalities
At the latest municipal elections in Kosovo in November 2009, political parties did demonstrate a slight increase in their willingness to attract women candidates for elections and to nominate women to run for municipal office
Although women-focused NGOs have successfully raised a number of important issues in relation to women and security in recent years, women’s voices are rarely heard in governmental institutions, especially in the security sector. Participation rates among rural women are even lower
Women’s low level of representation and participation in municipal and village structures tends to hinder their engagement in politics. Discriminatory practices against women contribute to their low political participation rate, especially in rural zones, since women’s roles are mainly construed around family and domestic activities.
The authors' recommendations include:
In order to ensure the substantial participation of women in decision-making processes and women-responsive party programmes, political parties and the Kosovo Assembly should provide adequate human resources to women politicians, such as staffing and offices as well as budgetary support for activities organised by the Assembly’s Informal Group of Women.
The Kosovo Assembly’s Informal Group of Women should continue to organise regular activities to advocate for women’s needs and interests.
The Kosovo Security Council (KSC) should be open to the participation of CSOs in an advisory position. The Kosova Women’s Network, an umbrella organisation for 86 women-focused NGOs in Kosovo, should be invited to form part of the KSC’s structure and be offered the opportunity to participate in the drafting of the Kosovo Security Strategy.
Ensuring the full participation of women-focused NGOs would promote a human security perspective and increase refl ection on women’s insecurities in particular.