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Women in Kosovo: work, culture, society. The research report The research was conducted by D. Cieslikowska as a part of the project “The development of women’s economic activity in Kosovo”

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Women in Kosovo: work, culture, society

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women in kosovo work culture society

Women in Kosovo: work, culture, society

The research report

Theresearch was conducted by D. Cieslikowska as a part of theproject

“The development of women’s economic activity in Kosovo”

by Partners Poland Foundation, and was finansed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland in 2007.

introduction to the research
Introduction to theresearch
  • The research was carried out between July and October 2007
  • A combination of interviews and tests was used
  • The research was done in Albanian, with the translation into English
  • Gjakova and Krusha (Madhe & Vogel)
  • Seven women (widows) and six men aged between 18 and 49of different kinds of work (business, worked or managed farms, worked for grassroots organizations or international NGOs) and some were unemployed.
  • Gjakova, Peja, Rahovec, Prizren, Deqan, Giljan and Klina
  • 110 women, aged between 17 and 69 years, twenty six (23.6%) were not working while the other 84 (76.4%) were.
research questions

1. What are the characteristics of the female gender role in Kosovo?

What are the differences between traditional and non-traditional gender role patterns? Which life domains have changed and how are they different? How do men and women perceive this issue?

2. What kind of cultural, social and individual factors influence a woman’s decision to enter the workforce or stay at home?

Which of these are conducive to start working and which are handicaps on the labour market?

3. How are women perceived within the context of employment?

What are men’s and women’s expectations towards women in the domestic, professional and public spheres?

Is there conflict or harmony between the needs of individuals and social expectations?

interviews results
  • Many women in Kosovo still fulfil the traditional pattern of gender relations. The rule that a woman “belongs” to her family is well known. Girls are subordinated to their family of origin before marriage. Getting married in most cases necessitates moving in with the husband’s family and this means becoming dependent on the husband and his relatives.
  • The status of being married is much higher than that of any other role open to women.
  • The role of mother is the first one before other social roles

The Case of Traditional Widow:

“Life is very different when you have a husband. You’re free, you can do more (…). Being without a husband is like being dead. It would have been better if we had died and our husbands were still alive.”

  • The Case of the Businesswoman:

a professionally, socially and individually satisfied person. She clearly owed her success to her strength of character, her efficiency and effectiveness and many other talents besides. However, as she herself often pointed out, the general opinion in the community was that it was her father-in-law who had made her carrier possible.


Work has become an important issue for Kosovar women. They are now not only concerned with family matters but want to work outside the home as well.

  • The motivation is mainly financial but psychological gratifications such as personal satisfaction and independence come into play as well. Women from villages, where working is more frowned upon than it is in the cities, derive particular satisfaction from work. Work seems to be more valuable as a result of being scarcer despite causing more conflict with home and family.
i ndividual social and cultural factors affecting a woman s decision to work or stay at home
Individual, social and cultural factors affecting a woman’s decision to work or stay at home
  • The economic situation in Kosovo – need for women’sworkorfear of thepositions?
  • Social Attutiude - supportorpressure?
  • The international forces - foreign conceptsorlocalsupport?
  • Grassroots organizations with female leaders - agents of thechanges?
  • Personalabilities, achivments, potentials – knownorunknownconcepts?
  • Women’snetowrking : commoninterest and solidarityor challenge and competition?
  • Institutionalbackground
background facts
  • EDUCATION:Women receive two years less schooling than men on average, enroll in primary and secondary schools less frequently, and have lower literacy rates(The Ombudsperson in Kosovo, 2007);
  • LIFE CONDITIONS: households headed by women are twice as poor as those headed by men (The World Bank’s Poverty Assessment report on Kosovo) ;
  • Unemployment rate among women is 70% compared with 51% for men,
  • Most Kosovarwomen hold low-ranking and even lower-paid positions: salariespaid to women are, on average, four times lower than those paid to men,
  • Lessthen6% of businesses in Kosovo are run by women,
  • Only13% of women isable live fromthemoneyearn by herself, withoutanyspousal support(The Office for Gender Affairs at the Office of the Kosovo Prime Minister ).

Many thanks

For FlorindaRudi

– for thewonderfulcooperation and translationduringthewholeresearchproject

For ArditaRizvanolli

for allthe help givenduringtheproject

what needs have to be answered
Whatneedshave to be answered?
  • Thepracticalneed:

“to help mobilize women throughout Kosovo, with a specific focus on returnee, displaced, and war-affected women, to assist them and their families in rebuilding their lives and livelihood”,

  • Thestrategicneed:

“to empower women to become agents of change and solidarity through raising awareness, fostering the development of women’s network, and enhancing the principles of gender equity at all levels of government and civil society” (The Kosovo Women’s Initiative)