Awareness raising campaign in school on gender based violence and domestic violence. (Credit: UNDP Albania)
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 UNDP Gender Equality Programme supports the implementation of appropriate policies and mechanisms that promote human rights and advance women’s empowerment.
The programme works with a wide array of public authorities, civil society organisations, the media and citizens at large in order to improve national capacities on gender issues as well as to increase public demand for human rights and gender equality.
The Gender Equality Programme assists the Albanian lawmakers to improve their monitoring capacities in the implementation of gender equality and human rights legislation. It provides technical assistance to crucial independent institutions such as the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination and the People’s Advocate to enable them to advocate more efficiently for gender equality and elimination of sexual discrimination.
The Programme works closely with citizens, women groups in particular, and encourages public demand for human rights and gender equality. Awareness raising activities with men and women, youth, marginalized groups and communities at large are expected to increase the interaction between public authorities and Albanian citizens. Through the establishment of a scorecard system, women in local communities are enabled to voice their concerns as to the quality of services provided by local governments thus establishing a healthy dialogue with their elected officials.
Continuous support is being provided to the Albanian Government in terms of gender mainstreaming and legislative changes that will make the country fully compliant with international standards. The Programme provides training for judges and prosecutors so that the judiciary improves the understanding and the application of gender equality commitments and guarantee of women’s rights.
Combating gender-based and domestic violence through the Coordinated Community Response against domestic violence remains a priority. This is a referral mechanism that involves the entire community, from local government units to law enforcement agencies, health care providers, judges and prosecutors.
The Gender Equality Programme assists vulnerable women with awareness activities about their economic rights and promotes women’s entrepreneurship.
Awareness raising campaign in school on gender based violence and domestic violence. (Credit UNDP Albania)
- The staff of the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination and of the People’s Advocate has now stronger skills in addressing discrimination based on sex, gender identity and sexual orientation
- The Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination (CPD) handled 15 complaints in 2011 compared to 172 new cases in 2014 plus 12 ex officio cases.
- The CPD had a progressive role in removing discriminatory practices towards women: e.g. formal decisions were issued against the practice of marking birth certificates of children born out of wedlock as discriminatory against children and their unwed mothers. Formal recommendations were made to amend practice and legal provisions that assume head of households to be men.
- The number of women in Parliament grew from 16.4% in 2009 to 25.7% in 2014.
- Civil society organisations have initiated 5 strategic litigation cases and are monitoring court decisions to see how they uphold (or not) women’s human rights
- Four local government units have signed solemn committment declarations to better respond to the needs of women as a constituency
- New amendments to the Criminal Code better address gender-based violence and bring Albania closer to the CEDAW
- Over 200 magistrates and other legal professionals have completed gender equality and domestic violence programmes
- Ministry of Labour and four municipalities instituted and trained Gender Equality Employees to ensure gender mainstreaming into local and central policies
- Two municipalities with gender-sensitive local development plans and four more with processes that involve women in public consultations and local decision-making
- National Shelter for survivors of domestic violence offers recreational and economic opportunities through a rehabilitated and usable gardens
- Staff of the shelter trained on handling domestic violence cases and exposed to international practices
- General public more aware of women’s human rights, non-discrimination of LGBTs and mechanisms of protection against discrimination and domestic violence
- UN Plan of Action for Women Economic Empowerment has been completed and five local initiiatives are under implementation in three regions in the country.
- Albania concluded two national surveys on Domestic Violence against Women and thus filled the data gaps. The findings are being used to present concrete evidence to policy makers and to develop and implement evidence-based decision making in establishing programmes and interventions to address violence against women and as well as to monitor progress.
- In two disctricts, Korça and Durres, the community coordinated response mechanism against domestic violence has managed to expand not only in the center towns but also in the rural settlements.
- In 2014 an online system to track multidisciplinary response to domestic violence was installed at both central and local level.The number of reported cases in 2014 grew to around 900 compared to 400 in 2013.
- UNDP support to civil society for strategic litigation for women's rights contributed to a greater use of available legal remedies by women and to greater involvement of public oversight mechanisms, particularly the CPD in protecting women's rights and gender equality. Strategic litigation resulted in greater access of women to international judicial or quasi-judicial mechanisms.
- Adoption of the National Action Plan on Involvement of Men and Boys as Partners to Women and Girls in Challenging Gender Stereotypes and Combating Gender Based Violence (GBV) and its implementation as part of the Secretary General's UNiTE campaign, is breaking the myth that GBV is a woman’s issue.
- A tradition has been well established to conduct awareness raising activities on gender equality and against domestic violence particularly during the 16 days of activism against violence against women and joined the UN SG’s campaign UNite to End Violence against Women. These activities were designed to change popular attitudes towards gender discrimination and domestic violence as well as to inform citizens of their rights pursuant to gender equality and domestic violence legislation. Since 2012 the focus of these campaigns has shifted from “know your rights” activities towards a movement for men and boys involvement in combatting VAW. For 2014, the UNite Campaign had a wide impact. While the number of men involved in this movement is rising by the day, campaign pictures and products, referring to UN SG’s initiative to orange the world have received global attention. Over 1000 young boys and girls benefited directly from the campaign and over 400,000 people from the community were reached through social and electronic media.