Study shows that efforts must be intensified to have a stronger voice of women in decision-making in municipal councils.May 15, 2015
The findings of the study: “Strengthening the decision-making power of councilwomen in Albania”, were presented today in Tirana during a forum which brought together government officials, civil society organizations, and international partners.
The study, which was conducted in 137 local councils in the 12 regions of the country, examines the decision-making power of councilwomen and provides suggestions on how to strengthen it.
186 councilwomen from both urban and rural areas participated in the study.
Results showed that the majority of councilwomen, 93 percent, perceive it as their responsibility to represent the interests of women and girls in the council. Approximately, 68 percent of councilwomen reported that they are not satisfied with their power in the council; 11.86 percent of councilwomen said that they “feel discriminated” because of their gender and 18.29 percent said that “councilors interrupt me while I share my opinion.” Approximately, 50.81 percent of women reported that they have participated in collective initiatives. Councilwomen were more likely to report collaborating with one another when they constituted a significant number. In addition, 63.78 percent of councilwomen reported that they have raised their voice in the council to address the problems faced by women and girls in the community.
Councilwomen face numerous structural barriers to their decision-making power. These barriers are related to the weak competencies of local councils, the poor fiscal capacities of local governments, the process through which Party leaders select women, and the restrictions that Party leaders set for local decision-makers.
The findings of this study suggest that increasing the number of councilwomen alone might not result into the desired outcomes. Hence, the interventions of local, national, and international organizations must focus on many fronts.
The Women Caucus Chair Ms. Mesila Doda emphasized that: “This is the century of women. It is time that women and girls become more aware of their outstanding role in the society, and of the need that the mankind has for women's perspective, sensitiveness, wisdom and decision-making skills. Our society urgently needs to listen to women's voice and build on women's strengths in the decision-making process, not because we cannot make mistakes as men do, but because we certainly know how to make our society much better, with functioning institutions and proper decision-making power built on women’s dimension, which is the real dimension of the mankind”.Meanwhile, Women Caucus vice Chair Ms. Mimoza Hafizi reaffirmed that the participation of women with 50% in the municipal councils gives value to the new administrative actions and competencies of the local government.
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun said “In other words, women need more democracy everywhere, in local politics, in party politics and in political life in general in order to be able to exert decision making power and to lead decisions for impacting the lives of women. For councilwomen, decision-making power is about voice and the power to act, to trust, to render account and to take responsibility. What is perhaps the most important take from this survey is that gender equality in local governance goes hand in hand with more democracy, transparency and accountability in all institutions of political life, including political parties, but also in all institutions of governance”.
This study was developed with the support from UNDP in the framework of the Gender Equality Programme, supported financially by the Swedish Government.