The results of a comprehensive survey on gender equality in Kosovo were published by the United Nations Kosovo Team on May 31, 2018. The research shows that a legal and policy framework exists, but more needs to be done to involve men in realizing gender equality in Kosovo. “By building up on the success of existing gender equality policies, men´s issues and engaging men for gender equality should be integrated as a crosscutting topic into the new, multi-year Kosovo Programme for Gender Equality which is in process of development,” the authors of the report conclude.
A Men’s Perspective on Gender Equality in Kosovo: Main findings from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), sponsored by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and UNFPA, researched men’s attitudes and practices on a variety of topics related to gender and the ways men can help address gender inequality. The report contains information and statistics on gender norms and attitudes toward gender equality, childhood experiences, relationship dynamics, and domestic duties. Information on violence and criminal practices, health practices, and gender equality policies and laws is also included.
IMAGES is an ongoing international research project and one of the most comprehensive household studies ever carried out on men’s and women’s attitudes and practices on a wide variety of topics related to gender equality. It measures men’s attitudes and practices – along with women’s opinions and reports of men’s practices – on a wide variety of topics related to gender equality. The survey was conducted for the first time in Kosovo.
Compared to other countries, attitudes toward gender norms in Kosovo are average: the majority of men (and women) lie within what the report calls “moderate equity norms.” In the majority of men’s childhood experiences, taking care of children and household chores were their mother’s obligation. Childcare tasks were typically either shared between both partners or taken over by the mother. The men who were taught how to take care of their siblings during their childhood were more likely to be involved in the daily care of their own children. Men belonging to younger age groups were more likely to have seen their fathers or other male figures becoming actively engaged in household duties. Higher household involvement of men’s fathers or other male figures was more common when the respondents’ parents had higher educational attainment.
Particularly concerning was that around 40% of men surveyed admitted that there was bullying or teasing and harassment in the school or neighborhood in which they grew up. Those who experienced such violence at school and at home were more likely to be averse towards gender equality.
Kosovo has been a candidate for joining the European Union (EU) since 2008. In January 2018, the European Commission announced to complete the next wave of enlargement with countries of the Western Balkans, including Kosovo, by 2025. As part of the EU accession process, Kosovo over the past years has adopted or changed inheritance law, family law, laws on protection against domestic violence, and labor laws guaranteeing equal pay for men and women for similar work and parental leave.
Yet a recent report by the Kosovo Women’s Network highlighted the lack of political will to implement these gender equality laws and the need to train legal actors on the meaning and implementation of the laws.
The results of the IMAGES study show that there is momentum for promoting gender equality in Kosovo, both among men and women. Perhaps EU accession will provide the needed spark for change.