OSCE urges higher women participation in 2017 elections
- “The 2017 elections are approaching. The number of women candidates is still insufficient. From a legal point of view, this requires minor changes in the Electoral Code, however it also demands political will,” said Borchardt
TIRANA, March 6 – Albania is the only country in the Balkans that has not developed a National Action Plan based on UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security, according to the head of OSCE Presence in the country, Bernd Borchardt.
On Monday, Ambassador Borchardt urged Albania to increase efforts and show more commitment to strengthen the leading role of women.
“Albania has made substantial progress, however, having an Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 offers the state and civil society an opportunity to frame and reflect on what they have achieved over the past years in further empowering women,” the OSCE diplomat said at his address to a conference held in Tirana.
Albania has undertaken several steps to increase representation of women in politics and decision-making processes. Authorities have launched a strategy on gender-based violence and approved the Law on Domestic Violence, toughening penalties against abusers and strengthening gender equality.
Furthermore, recently the Minister of Defence Mimi Kodheli, herself a woman, appointed a women as general of the country’s armed forces which according to the head of OSCE represent important indicators of Albania’s commitment to increase the role of women in the society.
While these steps are not sufficient, the OSCE diplomat underlined that Albania must set up an action plan based on the UN document that requires the collaboration of all state institutions.
“The OSCE Presence in Albania, is fully committed to support with expertise the technical development of this document,” Borchardt said.
OSCE has been a vivid supporter of gender equality and diversity in Albania. The presence provided support and assistance for the fulfillment of gender quota in the 2009 elections. As a result of this support, women’s representation in the Albanian parliament increased from 16.4 percent in 2009 to 17.8 percent in 2013. However the number of women candidates in the electoral lists is still insufficient and women empowerment is still sluggish.
“The 2017 elections are approaching. The number of women candidates is still insufficient. From a legal point of view, this requires minor changes in the Electoral Code, however it also demands political will,” Borchardt added.
The OSCE Presence has also provided support to police forces in Albania to provide a better understanding on gender mainstreaming.