FOR THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE TOWARDS WOMEN AND FOR
GENDER EQUITY IN DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES
INPUT OF THE
FOR ENCOURAGING ALBANIAN FEMINIST MOVEMENT AGAINST
VIOLENCE, EXPLOITATION AND MASCULINIST RULING
Lushnje, 23 November 2002
The National Conference “For Encouraging Albanian Feminist Movement” against violence, exploitation and masculinist ruling, was held on November 23rd 2002, organised by the National Wide Reconciliation Committee upon proposal of 122 women and girls, activists of Reconciliation Committee at Fier Shegan commune. Participants in this Conference were intellectual women and girls from different districts of the country, from Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro, representatives of Albanian state, international agencies, diplomatic body, political parties, non-governmental organisations, Albanian and foreign media, non government organizations.
THE CONFERENCE EVALUATED
a) The contribution of UN Organisation, Council of Europe and European Union in Human Rights Protection in Albania, in particular women and children’s rights.
b) The contribution of international women organisations and experience of European countries in ensuring gender balance in decision-making processes.
c) The attempts of women associations and forums in Albania for protecting women from violence and discrimination.
d) The support offered to this movement by the President of the Republic of Albania and Chairman of Albanian Parliament, guaranteeing to be firm allies until the achievement of final objectives.
THE CONFERENCE EMPHASIZED
Albanian feminist movement against violence, exploitation and masculinist ruling, is not a “tendentious movement against male gender” but a movement that supports progress, protection of freedom and basic human rights of Albanian women and girls. This movement does not bring antagonism because it is established and encouraged by representatives coming from both genders. The term “Feminist Movement” is used to attract the attention in favour of the requirements expressed in the notions “gender equity” and “equal rights”, which up to now are consumed without raising the appropriate interest.
THE CONFERENCE ESTABLISHED
Albanian population shares a patriarchal mentality in the family and the tradition of a men-ruling society, which has impeded the development and has aggravated the life for women, girls and children. It will be impossible to establish a civilized, peaceful and sustainable Albanian environment without the full participation and involvement of women and girls in decision-making process and in managing all life areas.
Male domination in politics and society, during the transition, has caused conflicts and tragic events, disorientation of the society and lack of a legal state-ruling, greed for making quick money, corruption and organized crime, trafficking of women, minors, weapons and drugs, revenge and blood feuds, violence in the family, and an increasing influence of Kanun.
Albanian population, particularly in rural and suburb areas, lives under stress as a result of lack of food, electricity, water, and security. Women and children in these areas live in conditions of extreme poverty. The majority of this population has lost the trust in the Government and faith in the future.
Poverty and organized crime have forced more than 30 000 women and girls to work as prostitutes. 15 000 of them in Italy, 5 000 in Greece, and 10 000 in different Western European countries. 4 000 children have been traded and exploited by the panders. 80% of the women and girls prostituting are under the repression of individuals involved before in criminal acts, traffic of drugs and weapons. During 2002, in a tragic way, there are violated, by the patriarchal husbands, 26 families. As a result of revenge and blood feuds acts, there are killed 3000 persons, and as a consequence their women and children are obliged to live isolated (without leaving the house premises) depriving them of their right to live freely and happily. From this isolation 892 children were not able to follow their studies.
Reliable sources of information confirm that 100 thousand families still keep guns, 1300 family fathers have left the country, afraid of being killed and their families do not know where they are.
Albanian population has a relatively young average life span; 65% of the population is under 40 years of age, and 52% of this age group is women. This confirms that one million women and young girls, the most active group, are isolated and their capacities are not used in the service of the community. Since in their infancy, women feel inferior due to the mentality of the society. Mothers teach their daughters “to obey the brother (and when they get married) to obey their husband, because a man is a man”. In this way Albanian women “creates” the self-isolation and violence that latter on shall be exercised over them. Polls reveal that 70% of young couples, newly married, take more joy from the birth of a son than the birth of a daughter.
Traditional beliefs that women are inferior, or that their destiny is linked to serving men, has made inefficient and ineffective the legal tools for protecting women from violence. Associations for protecting women’s rights haven’t been able to address criticism and attract the public opinion attention. They are composed only of women, no man is involved, and lack an efficient organization.
Civic opinion is not familiar with issues related to gender culture and balance, because publications relevant to these issues are not adopted for publishing. Terms “equity between men and women” and “equal rights” do not attract the attention because such terms were over consumed during the socialist system.
Women take only 4% in the high management level in the country. The only positive case is the chairmanship of Peoples Assembly, where the two deputies are women. Women, although having the same education level with men, still remain away from the career and creative work. From 222 professors in our country, only 13 of them are women. From 140 MP in the Peoples Assembly only 8 of them are women. Men head the 13 parliamentary commissions. From 19 members of the governmental cabinet, only 2 are women. From 23 vice ministers only 4 of them are women. From 14 members of the High Council of Justice, only 1 is a woman. From 26 heads of first level courts only 3 are women. From 309 heads of communes, 5 are women, and from 65 mayors only 8 are women.
In the community there are many women with high expertise and capacities, and if they are invited to perform with dignity they are very capable to undertake high-level positions.
This was proved in the selection of candidates for heading the Courts of Appeal where they took 50 % of the positions of heads of courts. In the same way, from 11 judges in the High Court, 5 of them are women.
In governmental agencies, which have employed a considerable number of women, mainly, they perform only simple tasks and are managed by men. Only 8% of the businesses run by women are supported with loans from banks. Economic balance between the two genders is 1 to 5 in favour of men.
Lately, main political parties have advised their branches, at district level, to increase the number of women leaders in their forums, however women have not been able to be involved in the leadership. The socialist party has instructed that in first category districts this number should not be lower than 30% but in second category districts this percentage drops to 20.
25 000 boys and girls, graduated from the university have asked to emigrate abroad. They have been offered very few positions in the state administration, because party militants take these positions.
THE CONFERENCE DECIDED
To address governmental institutions and Albanian society, ambassadors accredited in Albania, United Nations Organisation, European Union, Council of Europe, OSCE, USA-Government, for supporting this movement by requiring that
1. Firstly, and most important, the state and Albanian society finds the necessary tools to fight violence against women, girls and children, as one of the most flagrant violations of human rights.
2. Law-making institutions and political parties establish the constitutional act of gender equity in decision-making. Considering the specific conditions of our country, the constitution establishes that not less than 30% of members of parliament, municipality and commune councils are women.
3. Albanian government takes necessary measures and decisions so that all Albanian state institutions open the doors and stresses the necessity women’s contribution in the administration taking not only simple positions but also managers.
4. Invite Peoples Assembly of the Republic of Albania and the Albanian government to review laws that do not encourage gender equity and that favour women’s discrimination such as, work schedule, place of work, treatment during pregnancy, sexual harassment, etc.
5. Invite Peoples Assembly of the Republic of Albania and the Albanian government to enact legal and sub legal acts to narrow the economic income gap between women and men in the Albanian society. Prepare and enact laws that protect and favour economic interests of women, gender equity in the labour market, businesses, loan mechanisms and economic decision-making.
6. Invite Peoples Assembly of the Republic of Albania and the Albanian government to transform the cabinet, with the view to fighting corruption and organised crime, by appointing in management levels of finances, police, investigation, persecutions and tribunals, directories of taxes and customs, women coming from university auditoriums and civil society. Enact the new law, for the intelligence service, corruption matters and verification of assets of politicians, by establishing a group from outside the parliament mainly composed from university representatives, civil society and international agencies.
7. Invite political parties to review the selection procedures for candidates in the leading forums and prepare their staff about data collection for the candidates appearing in the lists for commune and municipality councils, members of parliament, candidates for the governmental cabinet and local administration, in order to establish fair relations between the two genders.
8. Albanian law enforcement agencies should increase the level of cooperation with the community and civil society for discovering, preventing and penalising individuals involved in the organised crime, trafficking of women, drugs, weapons and minors.
9. We invite Albanian Parliament and Government to abrogate the law that penalises women involved in prostituting and enact legal acts for their protection from violence and exploitation. Increase punishments for traffickers and panders.
10. Invite the Parliament of the Republic of Albania and Albanian Government to encourage the activities of women political forums by determining and specifying, in the law for financing political parties, special funds for such forums.
11. Albanian Government, in cooperation with NGO-s, should undertake necessary organisational processes, for achieving a qualitative increase of gender equity in the administration, by providing a minimum budget for training and seminars of cabinet members.
12. Ministry of Education and Science should bring at a higher level the educational work at schools, for delivering to youngsters more comprehensive knowledge on gender equity issues and obligations towards women in a contemporary society. Ban the practise of colleges that group separately boys from girls during the teaching process, and revise school textbooks that trumpet wars and contain extreme nationalist ideals.
13. Invite municipalities and communes for preserving gender equity in the public administration staffs and fulfilling them, mainly with young people, and prevent trade of objects that influence in creating the psychology of violence in children.
14. Invite the media to have under control the articles and emissions that can incite the psychology of violation in family, killings for blood feud and to ban the show of horror films.
15. United Nations Organisation, Council of Europe and EU member countries are invited to promote all possible potentials to assist Albania in overcoming this difficult situation, to offer more assistance to the population in rural areas, which still continues to be in conditions of extreme poverty and under the influence of patriarchal mentality.
16. Invite trade unions to evaluate properly the role of women in their management structures, to give serious attention to gender equity issues in their activities and, considering the current conditions, start the protests against corruption and for improving living conditions.
17. Invite civil society operators and media to give a bigger contribution in raising the awareness and transform the attitude of men, because the position of Albanian woman in the society and the violence in the family show that the population is far away from the emancipation.
18. Invite all members of the family institute to ensure respect towards the freedom and human rights, for a society without violence and for undertaking common responsibilities regarding all problems related to the family.
THE CONFERENCE CONFIRMED
The approval of this resolution as and important step in raising public opinion awareness about the current position of women, girls and children in the Albanian society and mobilising stakeholders for improving the situation.
The acceptance of the National Wide Reconciliation Committee Strategy that, under the collective responsibility of the community, is organising the protection of women’s rights, encouraging them to fight against violence, exploitation and masculinist ruling.
The acceptance of the strategic plan for releasing isolated families, as well as for the psychological and emotional rehabilitation of children and women traumatised by the killings and isolation. Reconciliation committees in some rural areas, leaded by representatives of education structures, local government and women are giving positive results changing the mentality that the only person responsible for killings is the assassinator, who should be judged and penalised by the state. These committees are encouraging successfully public denouncement and exclusion from the society of individuals involved in traffics of weapons, drugs and women.