The Network Women's Programme of the Open Society Institute, it’s
institutional partner NGOs, and the national experts from Western Balkan
countries launched the report: "ON THE ROAD TO THE EU- Monitoring Equal
Opportunities for Women and Men in South Eastern Europe" on 3rd May 2006 in
the European Parliament in Brussels.
The event was hosted by Mrs. Zita Gurmai, President of the PES
Women and Vice-chairperson of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender
The summary volume presented in Brussels includes key findings and
recommendations to policy-makers, based on the EOWM monitoring reports prepared
by the institutional partners of NWP from Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, including Kosovo.
The report shows that throughout Western Balkans gender inequality is still a
matter of wide concern. The gender pay gap is widespread and further expanding,
the labour market remains segregated, the protection of women in case of
pregnancy and motherhood is weak and controversial and there is limited public
awareness of what ‘gender equality’ means as a daily reality for women and men.
Preparation for EU accession requires concentrated efforts on the part of both
candidate and potential candidate countries to meet EU gender standards,
especially in light of the Roadmap for equality between women and men dated 1
March 2006, specifying in 6.1. the following "Countries joining the EU
must fully embrace the fundamental principle of equality between women and men.
They must ensure strict enforcement of legislation and put in place adequate
administrative and judicial systems. Monitoring the transposition,
implementation and enforcement of the EU gender equality legislation will be an
EU priority for future enlargement processes".
The presentation of the national reports concluded with the following 4
recommendations put forward for debate:
1. EU should assist the governments in region to develop national policies as
well as a regional policy on gender equality. In the absence of national
policies (which is different from strategies and action plans) the governments
tend to turn to the NPALs and treat it as such, consequently directives are
transposed into national legislation without thinking of their implementation.
A regional gender equality policy could serve as a framework for future
participation in the Community Programmes dealing with gender issues in line
with the Thesalloniki Agenda.
2. EU should turn to the "real source of expertise" in the region, which in
the case of gender equality is certainly not the public administration because
of traditional reasons. The concept of gender mainstreaming proves to be
inapplicable in the region, therefore appropriate alternatives need to be looked
3. EU should consult local stakeholders in the process of drafting the
strategic documents (CSPs and MIPDs) i.e. the minimum standards for
consultation applied in the development of internal policies should be applied
in the process of developing external policies (6 weeks consultation, targeting
4. The new financing instrument IPA should recognize the above noted and
provide for grant schemes for NGOs, policy institutes, think-tanks and academia,
regardless of the risks associated with funding NGOs in the region.
The Q&A session provoked a great deal of debate and many issues were put on
the table by the audience as food for thought such as: how to include NGOs in
the communication strategy of the EU especially in line with the establishment
of the gender institute, how to develop better networking between NGOs in the
region, how to advocate for a budget line for supporting gender-related NGO
activities as part of the communications strategy, how to strengthen and build
the capacity of NGOs to act as watch dogs for the implementation of gender
policy, how to measure quality and quantity (quotas vs mainstreaming), etc.
The full report on Macedonia, prepared by Akcija Zdruzhenska in collaboration
with the national experts Lidija Dimova from the Macedonian Centre for European
Training and Jasminka Friscik from Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and
Equality of Women of the Republic of Macedonia, will be published promoted on
June 13th in Skopje is in the printing phase.