Photo: Driton Paqarada

Kvinna till Kvinna in Kosovo

Kvinna till Kvinna has supported women’s rights in Kosovo since 1994. In the shadow of the wars in Yugoslavia, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. As the move remains unrecognised by Serbia, Kosovo has been in limbo and struggles with ethnic tensions. Amidst this uncertainty, the women’s movement has stayed united and achieved important victories, including reparations for victims/survivors of wartime sexual violence.

Why we work in Kosovo

Since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, its status has been disputed. Serbia does not recognise Kosovo as an independent country. This causes lingering uncertainty, heightened by tensions and occasional clashes between ethnic groups.

The women’s movement has been one of the few actors successful in crossing ethnic lines to engage in dialogue for peace. They have also managed to unite women politicians.

During the war in the nineties, thousands of women were killed and subjected to sexual violence. In 2014, victims/survivors achieved a major victory: those who suffered sexual violence became entitled to compensation, similar to war veterans. In 2018, the first reparations were paid. Still, many perpetrators walk free.

Today, violence against women remains widespread. Poverty, high unemployment and inheritance rights issues make it difficult for women to leave abusive partners.

Optimistically, women’s rights organisations have managed to convince Kosovo to adopt a range of laws to advance women’s rights. Full implementation, however, is still a long way off.

Politically, women’s representation has slightly increased. Kosovo has had both a female president and mayor, and there is a gender quota for candidates. Still, more needs to be done to ensure women’s voices are heard in Kosovo’s EU integration process.

A Roma mother and her children at a camp in the city of Peja. The Roma are one of Kosovo's minority groups, and often discriminated against. Photo: Driton Paqarada
A Roma mother and her children at a camp in the city of Peja. The Roma are one of Kosovo's minority groups, and often discriminated against. Photo: Driton Paqarada

How we support women in Kosovo

Together with our partner organisations in Kosovo, we work to:

  • Promote peace and encourage inter-ethnic cooperation
  • Prevent gender-based violence and support victims/survivors
  • Offer trauma support to victims/survivors of wartime sexual violence
  • Increase women’s political participation
  • Advocate for the rights of minorities and discriminated groups (Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian, rural women)
  • Empower women economically
  • Advocate for gender mainstreaming in Kosovo’s legislation
  • Raise awareness of women’s rights through theatre and art festivals


Our partner organisations in Kosovo

  • Art and Community Center Artpolis
  • Kosova Women’s Network
  • Kosovar Gender Studies Center
  • Mitrovica Women’s Association for Human Rights

Our partner organisation Artpolis uses art and theatre to raise awareness of women’s rights. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha

News from our partners in Kosovo

April 14th—the day for survivors of sexual violence in the Kosovo war

More than 20,000 survivors of sexual violence in the Kosovo war are still waiting for justice, after almost 20 years. One of them is Vasfije Krasniqi Goodman, who was the first survivor to openly talk about the crimes committed against her.

11 December 2023

Highlighting women’s peace work in Kosovo

In conflict-affected Kosovo, women’s rights organisations have historically stayed united and achieved important victories for equality. Dafina Prekazi and her colleagues are amongst those working to raise awareness of the movement’s crucial role in peacebuilding and promote gender equality.

21 September 2023

The shame is not ours or the burden of another’s shame

In Kosovo, a traditionally patriarchal society, freedom of girls and women is precarious. They face harassment and sexual harassment daily, even in spaces that should be safe and protected, such as public universities. Unfortunately, lack of consequential institutional action and mistrust in institutions has caused girls and women in Kosovo to remain silent and not report cases.

9 May 2023

Victory for victims of war-time rape in Kosovo

Kosovo's women's movement has achieved an important victory for women who were subjected to sexual violence during the war. Today, they are recognised as civilian victims of war and receive compensation for their suffering from the government.

18 October 2012

“I no longer feel marginalised,” says activist in Kosovo

In Kosovo, minority groups such as Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians are marginalised. Members of these groups are often not very highly educated and struggle to find work. Women in particular are discriminated against. One of the reasons is the fact that they often enter into arranged or even forced marriages at an early age. This causes them to drop out of school and increases their risk of domestic violence.

18 October 2012

Sex in exchange for grades at uni in Kosovo

“I’ve sat the same exam three times already, but still haven’t passed. My teacher has told me he’ll let me pass only if I have sex with him. He’s made it very clear nothing will change unless I give in,” says 20-year-old Merita from Kosovo.

18 October 2012