Women Empowerment Talks – “Economic empowerment to address gender-based violence“

23 December 2020

On 4 December, the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) hosted the forth in a series of Women Empowerment Talks on the topic “Economic empowerment to address gender-based violence”.

Moderated by EULEX’s Gender Advisor, Chiara Tagliani, the panel consisted of Edi Gusia, Chief Executive of the Agency for Gender Equality, Luljeta Aliu, Executive Director of INJECT, and Adelina Berisha, Kosovo Women’s Network Programme Manager for Addressing gender-based violence. The discussions focused on how economic empowerment can help to address gender-based violence. The panelists examined the relationship between economic empowerment and gender-based violence, exchanged views on challenging gender stereotypes, and stressed the necessity of dedicated programmes for women’s economic empowerment.  

When it comes to the intersection of economic empowerment and gender-based violence, the former is seen as a key factor in the approach that societies and institutions should apply to prevent and mitigate gender-based and domestic violence.  However, the Chief Executive of the Agency for Gender Equality, Edi Gusia, notes that economic empowerment does not always mean security for women when it comes to violence. “Unfortunately, worldwide statistics show that even in well-established economies, despite the fact that women are empowered economically, they still face gender-based violence. This shows that gender-based violence should be approached in an intersectional way, which puts in the center the emancipation and education of men and women from an early age, when they are taught to see each other as allies in the fight against gender-based violence,” emphasized Gusia. 

In Kosovo the intersection of economic empowerment and gender-based violence has shown that the lack of economic power and decision-making at home has kept women behind.  “Economic dependency on your partner means that even a smaller verbal protest from your side causes fear that the situation may escalate. This is due to the fact that the man has the advantage in this discourse because of his economic power,” said Luljeta Aliu, Executive Director of INJECT.  

To improving the situation on the ground, what programmes should be implemented in Kosovo to foster economic empowerment for women, as required by the Istanbul Convention?

Adelina Berisha from Kosovo Women’s Network believes that the civil society should look into practices from the region and other countries in order to harmonize and draft secondary legislation, which is now needed for the work of victim support service providers.  “For us, this focus will be essential and it is directly related to the rehabilitation and reintegration of victims. Women victims should be empowered to increase their capacities and chances for employment”, concluded Berisha. 

The “Women Empowerment Talks” are part of EULEX’s activities to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign.