Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights. It is a driver for sustainable development and good governance. To advance human development of societies, it is of vital importance to ensure that women and girls, along with men and boys, are able to fully enjoy their rights and realize their capacities in all spheres of life. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), feature a standalone goal on gender, which encourages the world to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. Goal number five of the SDGs features nine targets. The SDGs present strong entry points, especially for social inclusion (SDG10), gender equality (SDG5), governance and rule of law (SDG 16), employment (SGD 8) and climate change and resilience (SDG13 and 9).
Gender equality is at the core of UN’s work in Albania. UN works with a wide range of partners in government and civil society to integrate gender considerations and expand women’s participation in the development and implementation of inclusive and sustainable development policies and strategies. We advocate for equal rights for women and girls and support initiatives that combat discriminatory practices and challenge the roles and stereotypes that affect inequalities and exclusion.
In recent years Albania has improved the status of women and promoted gender equality. However, the country still faces many challenges in terms of fully displaying and utilising the women’s potential in the labour market and economy, increasing participation in decision-making and eradicating the widespread violence against women, particularly in the family realm. In addition, the country still needs to strengthen its legislative and institutional framework pertaining to gender equality and non-discrimination, improve monitoring and accountability of public offices towards women as well as ensure gender mainstreaming in public policies.
The goal of gender equality and the practice of gender mainstreaming focus on how females and males experience problems in society differently, and how they relate to the societal forces that shape power relationships. It aims to identify the societal behaviors and structures that sustain gender inequality and make changes that are institutional and systemic. Albania is a signatory to a number of important and binding international documents, which guarantee the equality of men and women and prohibit gender-based discrimination. Gender equality has a prominent place in the NDSI II, yet despite the progress that has been made to establish a legal and policy framework for the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality, inequalities are pervasive. Traditional patriarchal attitudes are still prominent, gender inequalities are present in all spheres of social and economic life, and violence against women is still widespread. In 2013, Albania ranked 44th out of 149 countries in the Gender Inequality Index. To accelerate implementation, the UN will work with the GoA to establish a centralised national entity for the advancement of women with a clearly defined mandate, responsibilities, and resources. The UN will also support the mainstreaming of gender-sensitive analysis, indicators, and monitoring instruments in the NSDI II and in legislation, policies, and programmes.
The National Strategy on Gender Equality, Gender-based Violence and Domestic Violence (2011-2015) calls for gender-mainstreaming structures within all ministries, departments and agencies as mechanisms to implement and monitor national laws and policies and regional and global commitments for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Budget resources, advisory and technical support are needed to accelerate implementation and monitoring, especially at local levels.