Ndriqim Imeri, Winner of the Essay Competition
one’s writes on the role and influences that women representing Kosovo people
have, it’s impossible to miss the historical perspective. Unfortunately, the
historical discrimination of women was and remains one of the biggest and
longest crises of humanity, not just in our society but around the world.
Although gender equality has finally triumphed in some European countries, such
a thing remains far from happening in our country.
biggest and perhaps the most difficult challenge our society has faced already.
While Western countries reached their values through cultural evolution and
managed to create conditions for legal norms to be adopted onto social behaviours,
the opposite has been imposed in our case. Considering our history, during
which Kosovo’s land and society have never been self-governed, the cultural
level of our society was quite low. As the effect of such a cultural level, the
undoubtedly patriarchal spirit has remained, which prevailed for centuries and
still exists as a mentality for a relatively large portion of the Kosovo
citizens. To improve this situation, the competent institutions have
established the norms of a high democratic level, the role of which extends to
the “education” of the citizens as well. Discrimination of Kosovar
women in all areas, and especially in politics, and the need for a necessary
improvement of such a situation has undoubtedly entered into the process of
Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, as the highest legal and political act
of the country, has the principle of gender equality incorporated by special
legal provisions, as well as by establishing this principle as one of the basic
pillars on which the constitutional spirit is created. The
participation of Kosovar women into legislative bodies, both at a central and
local level, is specifically regulated by the Law on General Elections which
guarantees the participation of 30% of women in the Assembly. The
law encourages and ensures at least a minimum number of women in political
representation, though what is worrisome is the real role and impact those women
can have, in a country that was for a long time misgoverned by men. The
gender quota, that guarantees women’s participation in politics, has two
dimensions. The first one is its formal or legal dimension, identified as a
legal norm, and the second is its material side, which must result in or be the
product of the formal dimension.
Unfortunately, for us, the results derived from legal norms remain
often note that women who represent us are being used as “puppets,”
mostly for election campaigns, through which we are being lied about the
existence of diversity and gender equality, while subsequently the very same
ones that “promote” such “equality” constantly place men within
decision-making bodies. In short, Kosovar women in politics and popular
representation are just numbers required by the law rather than names that can
make the long-awaited change of our society.
patriarchal mentality of a relatively large portion of society represents
another source of superficial character for women’s participation in Kosovo
politics. Statistics show that in the elections held following the declaration
of independence, the relation between the number of votes women receive compared
to men, and their participation (on average) according to the electoral lists
is very disproportional. In both central and local elections, the most voted
politicians within the respective electoral lists are men. Often, women that win
the seats as the people’s representative have fewer votes than many men who
fail to win those seats. Unfortunately, this shows the dark side of this issue
as well. What can be said is that Kosovo citizens do not believe that Kosovar
women cannot make political representation worth mentioning. After 12 years as
an independent state, the gender quota remains the only guarantee that women
will be included in the representation of the citizens of Kosovo. And the fact
that the gender quota remains the only undoubted guarantee is that only one
municipality in Kosovo has been governed by a woman, and just for one term,
throughout its state history. Furthermore, in addition to such a disadvantaged
position of women in the legislature, Kosovar women face systematic
discrimination in the executive branch, as well. Almost all of Kosovo’s government
cabinets were dominated by men, compared to women, in terms of leading state departments.
Kosovar women have the necessary will, desire, education and professionalism to
provide their contribution, role and influence for bringing change for the
better in a country misgoverned by men. Nevertheless, they face discrimination
and categorization, be it from their political colleagues or from Kosovo’s citizens
who have not yet found “trust” in them. Hence, for women’s
participation and role in politics to be relevant, women politicians need to gain
more civic trust.
civic trust issue, that women enjoy little compared to men, remains a problem
that has its roots stretched perhaps in primary education, within the
patriarchal spirit which escorted us while growing up, through the education
system, etc. All these accounts have influenced the creation of the misperception
of Kosovar citizens on the participation of women in politics. Even though these
problems are still quite obvious, in recent years we see small sparks that make
us hope that women in Kosovar politics will finally gain the place they
deserve. Although not as a whole, on an individual scale we’ve seen a small
increase in the numbers of votes that women receive in elections during recent
years. This increase in votes can serve as the parameter which shows that the Kosovo
citizens have slowly begun to trust women as their political representation.
are all witnessing discrimination of women in Kosovo society in all areas of
life, including politics, and we’re convinced that the improvement of this
situation should occur. As a start, for the forthcoming triumph of gender
equality to occur, women need to ensure civic trust for their higher
participation in politics, which would affect the cultural transformation of
society as a whole. Gender equality in politics, both in participation and
influence, would serve as a clear indicator of gender equality – even in the
lowest levels of the state-social hierarchy, both in the public and in the private
sector. As the witnesses of minimal improvement of women’s position in politics
and representation of Kosovo citizens,
we should sober up, and to encourage and stimulate other actions and processes
that would eventually affect the empowerment of women in decision-making and
representation. Constitutional amendments, that would increase gender quota,
will probably be the right idea for further stimulation of this just started change.
the states governed by women, there is a high level of social welfare. This is
what countries like Germany or Finland are showing to us, and sooner or later
women will inevitably govern our country as well. The change has started, although
the road ahead will be very long.
The views and analysis in this report are solely of the author and do not
reflect the views of the donors.
The original version of this essay is written in Albanian and translated into English and Serbian. We have attempted to provide an accurate translation of the original essay. However, due to variations for alternative words or phrases to be used in place of the original language, differences may exist.
This activity is part of the Project “Gender Equality in Kosovo: Empowering of Women and Girls – A call for Change” funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) – an initiative of the Government of Canada.
 Kosovo’s Constitution https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=3702 Law NR. 03/L-073 for General Elections https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=2544 Balkans Policy Research group, Women in Politics: Gender (In)Equality in politics and decision-makinghttps://balkansgroup.org/en/women-in-politics-gender-inequality-in-politics-and-decision-making-4/ Ibid, 7