Gender equality is a fundamental value of the European Union (EU) and a necessary precondition for equality, social justice, sustainable growth and development of the societies. As such, it must be streamlined in the EU Accession Process of the Western Balkans (WB). Working towards this aim, six organizations from the WB joined in implementing the Action titled “”Furthering Gender Equality Through the EU Accession Process”.
While countries prepare to implement EU laws and standards, they must consider that women are half of the population, and this must be reflected in all efforts towards ensuring equal representation of their needs and interests, as well as to ensure that equal opportunities are provided, for both women and men. This is why gender equality must be one of the first things that comes to mind when speaking about the European Union (EU) accession processes and drafting successful state policies.
North Macedonia is already working vigorously on implementing the necessary reforms towards becoming a member of the EU. On this path towards improving policies and implementing reforms, it must ensure that gender perspectives are taken into consideration and mainstreamed/applied at all necessary levels.
Achieving this goal is possible only through joint efforts between civil society organizations and institutions, in order to ensure that the gender perspective is taken into account and reflects the interests of women and men, contributes towards advancing women’s rights and gender equality, and, ultimately improves people’s lives.
Having this in mind, women’s civil society organizations (WCSOs) in five WB countries: North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, joined their voices and partnered their expertise and knowledge to support WB governments in mainstreaming gender in their programs and ensure attention to gender perspectives during the EU Accession processes, by implementing a four-year Action, funded by the European Union, titled “”Furthering Gender Equality Through the EU Accession Process”. Reactor – Research in Action (North Macedonia), Kosovo Women’s Network (Kosovo), Albanian Women’s Empowerment Network (AWEN)(Albania), Rights for All (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Women’s Rights Centre (Montenegro) and The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation (North Macedonia Office) have joined their forces to fill in the gap in available gender data for different sectors on national level, monitor the implementation of gender equality commitments by the governments, inform the EC Country Reports and political dialogue related to EU accession, and build a regional network of WCOs advocating for an improved gender perspective in the EU Accession process.