Women march in Prishtina on January 21. | Photo: BIRN.

The Situation of Women in Kosovo: A Gloomy Reality in International and Local Reports

Recent data published in a report by the Democracy for Development Institute and the Oslo Institute for Peace Research shed light on the issues of online violence against women and the distressing condition of women in Kosovo.

The “Democracy for Development” Institute, D4D, released data on Tuesday from their monitoring of misinformation in online and social media during the months of July and August. Over this two-month period, the institute scrutinized online media and social networks in Kosovo, analyzing 1,500 articles containing misinformation in both Albanian and Serbian languages.

D4D reported that the most prevalent topics rife with misinformation included tensions in municipalities with a Serbian majority, the release of audio recordings featuring MP Mimoza Kusari-Lila, and altercations among MPs in the Assembly of Kosovo.

One of the key findings of the research, unveiled during the conference, revealed that online violence and misogyny against women were among the most widespread subjects in the media during the month of July.

The research conducted by this institute also noted that articles promoting political tensions and inter-ethnic conflicts between Kosovo and Serbia were published in July of this year as part of the issue of misinformation.

Concerning misinformation, Naile Dema, a member of the Board of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, AJK, stressed the need for media education in these times of information chaos from online and social media. 

She commented, “The media environment is not the best environment we, as media professionals, desire. This is perpetuated by social media and certain online platforms that disseminate inaccurate information, manipulate public opinion, and underscore the vital importance of media education for our society.”

On the other hand, Pajtim Gashi from the National Democratic Institute, NDI, mentioned their plans to collaborate with the Ministry of Education in the upcoming months to introduce media education as a school subject, with a particular focus on addressing hatred towards women, which, according to him, is more prevalent in the media.

Another research study highlighting the challenges faced by women in Kosovo was the fourth edition of the Women, Peace, and Security, WPS, Index for 2023, published by the Oslo Institute for Peace Research, PRIO.

This index, which ranks and scores 177 countries based on the status of women, placed Kosovo as the 100th country in the world. Consequently, Kosovo finds itself as the second-worst country in Europe for women to live in.

The index states, “Our results show that countries where women are doing well are also more peaceful, democratic, prosperous, and better prepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change. In fact, these impacts are more strongly correlated with women’s status than they are with GDP.”

In response to these reports, Lulejta Demolli, the Executive Director of the Kosovar Gender Studies Center, expressed concern about the lack of response and accountability from the state. 

“The methodology is so sophisticated that it indisputably indicates the harsh living conditions of women in Kosovo. Measures such as unemployment, education, living conditions, quality of life, and livelihood have been assessed, but regrettably, no one has been held accountable or provided an explanation as to why this situation persists,” she said.

She underscored the urgency of addressing misogyny and violence against women as a national issue.

The WPS Index compiles data from 13 indicators into a single comparable measure across countries, covering various aspects of women’s status, from economic participation and health to the risk of violence. For example, it juxtaposes education with safety perceptions, parliamentary representation with maternal mortality, and legal protection with proximity to armed conflict.

In this index, Denmark holds the top rank, while Afghanistan is at the bottom, ranking last among the 177 countries evaluated.

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25 October 2023 - 19:20

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.