DAY 14
DAY 13 // DECEMBER 7, 2012
Role of young men
DECEMBER 8, 2012
Citizens' engagement against gender based violence
Civil society is said to be the link between the individual citizen and the state. It is an arena of voluntary collective actions around shared interests, purposes and values. The motto is often "we do not have time to sit and wait for things to change; we have to make an active move and claim our rights". This work is typically done by non-governmental organizations, so called NGOs.

Around the world women have started to organize themselves to struggle for enhanced recognition of women’s rights and against different forms of discrimination and violence against women. The logic is easy: one person cannot do much alone, but many people together can create a critical mass and challenge existing attitudes, power structures and discriminatory legislation.

Women in Kosovo have many times showed that it is possible to mobilize women and join forces to achieve change. In Kosovo there are more than 100 active women’s organizations today. The majority of them started to work right after the war in 1999 or in the early 2000's. At that time, the main line of work of the women’s organizations was to provide direct services for people whose lives were shattered as a consequence of the war. Many women who have suffered violence at home have found a support or a safe haven thanks to the women's organizations. Others have become informed about their human rights and been empowered to take a more active role in the family, at the workplace or in the society. In recent years, women’s organizations have directly involved in and influenced the new legislation protecting women's rights.

Still today, however, despite steps forward, many challenges remain. Violence against women remains a widespread, structural problem in Kosovo. War, poverty and patriarchal structures are some of the underlying causes of the problem. Hence, the mobilization of women to continue to fight gender based violence together is crucial.

But is the fight against gender based violence only for women? No, it is not. Most people would agree that it is crucial to include men in the fight against violence against women. That is why many women’s organizations have started to also targeting men in their work to raise awareness about the presence of gender based violence in the society and to involve men in their struggle.

But concretely, what can we, as citizens, do to stop this structural violence against women?

Many people chose to join a group or an organization, typically a women’s NGO. There are at least three main fields of work of the women’s organizations:
  • - Women's organizations provide direct support to victims: through telephone hotlines, women's shelters and psychological support
  • - Women's organizations contribute to increased awareness about gender based violence and to changed attitudes in the society
  • - Women's organizations can approach government agencies, politicians and international actors to claim women's rights and demand change.
The women's movement in Kosovo is playing an important role within all three areas of work. If you want to contribute, join them!
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DAY 15 // DECEMBER 9, 2012
Role of Women Leaders
DAY 16 // DECEMBER 10, 2012
Media, Gender, and Violence