34 activists, researchers, and representatives from the local authorities from Macedonia and Kosovo, during the round table organized by Akcija Zdruzenska on April 27, 2016 in Hotel Solun in Skopje, had the opportunity to debate on the current state and key challenges for women on the labor market, and to suggest possible directions and strategies for improving the current ill conditions for women. During the round table, the summarized results from the research “The situation with gender equality in the labor market, the dignity, integrity, and gender based violence in the Polog Region” were presented, and information on the same situation in Kosovo was shared among the participants.
During the debate, the problem of sexual harassment of women at the work place emerged as a serious issue which is still not adequately addressed, both in everyday communication and in the legislative. “Sex annoying is a mad way to refer to a problem as serious as sexual harassment at the workplace! The consequences of this problem are usually grave”, alarms Marija Savovska, executive director at Akcija Zdruzenska. According to Savovska, it is a problem that in the legislative the term “sexual” is interchanged with “sex”. The process of proving the violence remains to be the key challenge for victims.
The women in Kosovo face similar challenges on the labor market. According to Luljeta Demolli, executive director of the Kosovo Gender Studies Center, women in Kosovo are not sufficiently included in the labor market, are discriminated against with wage gaps, and have limited access to educational and economic opportunities, which currently makes them an unused human resource. Demolli pointed out the necessity for more efficient law and policy enforcement regarding the advancement of gender equality at the local level, but also the benefits of cross-border cooperation among the civil sector in light of improving the economic situation of women in both countries.
The round table was organized within the project “Equality and Gender Mainstreaming Across Borders”, supported by the EU in the framework of the IPA instrument for cross – border cooperation between Macedonia and Kosovo, implemented by Akcija Zdruzhenska Skopje and Kosovar Gender Studies Center Prishtina, in partnership with Community Development Institute Tetovo and the Centre for Counseling and Support for women Dora-Dores Prizren.