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» Support Implementation of the National Strategy for Gender Equality and Domestic Violence (NSGE-DV) – Advancing Democratic Governance in Albania
Duration: 2.5 years (July 2008 – December 2010)
In Albania, there is increased understanding among decision-makers about the linkages between the advancement of gender equality and the realization of democratic governance and sustainable development. In the National MDG Report to the 2005 World Summit, the GOA stated that while progress had been made in achieving the MDGs, there has been limited progress in the area of gender equality.
Recent years have seen significant strengthening of the laws and policies which promote gender equality – such as the adoption of the law on gender equality (2004), the law on domestic violence (2006), the National Strategy for Gender Equality and Domestic Violence (2007) and the law on “On Gender Equality in Society” (2008), which for the first time adopted a quota for women in decision-making, and the Electoral Code (2008), which incorporated aspects of this quota. These steps have been taken by respective governments to support women’s advancement, and much of what has been done has gone far in ensuring that Albania’s legal frameworks uphold international norms and standards.
Gender equality advocates in government and civil society have stressed that the eradication of violence against women and increasing women in decision making are among the main national priorities for the advancement of gender equality and women’s human rights in Albania.
Through the support of the UN, INSTAT conducted the first national population-based survey on Domestic Violence in Albania (March 2009). The survey found that domestic violence against women and children is a widespread problem in families and communities throughout Albania. For example, of the 2,590 women surveyed, 50.6% of surveyed women self-reported experiencing emotional abuse in their marriage or intimate, 39.1% experienced psychological abuse, 31.2% experienced physical violence, and 12.7% experienced sexual violence. Depending upon the type of domestic violence experienced by women there were some significant differences based upon women’s level of education, work status, age group, and marital status. There were also significant differences based between urban and rural areas and across districts. Among the 991 children surveyed, 57.7% reported being physically battered by a family member. Moreover, this survey illustrates that battered women and children suffer physical injuries and serious health problems related to the violence, and the injuries often disrupt women’s ability to work. These findings demonstrate that domestic violence has negative effects on the physical health and well-being of battered women and children, and the overall health and well-being of families and communities. In light of these findings, prevention of domestic violence should rank high on the national public health agenda of the Government of Albania.
In a recent report, the International Parliamentary Union ranked Albania 115th of 142 countries monitored for women’s representation in elected positions at the national level – giving Albania one of the lowest ranking in Europe. In the local election in Albania in 2007, only 33 of the 1,073 candidates nominated for mayoral posts were women, and of these, only 9 were elected. In the 2005 national elections only, 7% of MPs are women. However, and with the support of the United Nations, with the adoption of the country’s first quota system in the Law On Equality in Society (July 2008) and within the Electoral Code (December 2008), the number of elected MPs increased to 16.4%. However, of the women election, only one was appointed to Cabinet, and one as the Speaker of the Parliament.
In addition to incorporating the quota into the Electoral Code, potentially the most significant step in increasing women’s presence in decision-making is the adoption by the Albanian Parliament of the law, “Gender Equality in Society” in July 2008. In addition to strengthening the mechanisms in government tasked with promoting and protecting gender equality, and ensuring the protection of women and men against discrimination in the workplace, with the adoption of the gender equality legislation (GEL) the State has made impressive commitments towards ensuring equal representation in appointed and elected positions in Government.
In light of the above, considerable and broad-based technical support is needed to ensure the effective implementation of the newly adopted NSGE-DV and the recent advances in the country’s legal framework. Further, the inclusion of the NSGE-DV into the Government of Albania’s National Strategy for Development and Integration (NSDI) provides an important opportunity for the UN to support a cross-sectoral approach to advancing gender equality and increasing women’s participation in public life.
Expected outcomes of the Joint Programme:
Participating Agencies: UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF
Implementing and partner organizations:
For more information, please contact: Estela Bulku, National Programme Coordinator for the UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality, email@example.com