Kvinna till Kvinna in Macedonia

Kvinna till Kvinna has supported women’s rights in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia since 1999. Recent political changes provided new opportunities for women’s rights organisations to influence Macedonia’s EU accession agenda. Still, the government takes too little responsibility for advancing gender equality. Ethnic tensions also continue to simmer in society. Our partners prevent gender-based violence, increase women’s political participation and support youth in peacebuilding.

Why we work in Macedonia

In Macedonia, there is long-standing tension between ethnic Albanians and ethnic Macedonians. The two groups live mainly in different regions, speak different languages and go to different schools. This division slows down necessary change – including on gender equality.

Politics are male-dominated. Many women do not vote, and only 4 out of 80 mayors are women. Yet there are some successes: today, quota reserve 40% of parliamentary seats for the least-represented gender.

Macedonia has several laws on gender equality, but allocates almost no resources to their implementation. Civil society is often expected to shoulder that burden.

Up to a third of citizens live in poverty and unemployment is high. The country has one of Europe’s largest gender pay gaps: on average, women earn only half as much as men.

Gender-based violence is widespread. Despite a law against domestic violence, few measures are taken to protect women. Public support for victims/survivors is low.

Health care is another concern. Traditional values affect how sexual and reproductive health and rights are dealt with, and access to abortion is limited. Roma women in particular are often denied care.

Members of our Macedonian partner organisations REACTOR and National Network to End Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence visit our head office in Stockholm. Photo: Anna-Carin Hall / Kvinna till Kvinna

How we support women in Macedonia

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

  • Prevent gender-based violence and support victims/survivors
  • Increase the political participation of women and encourage them to vote
  • Improve inter-ethnic relations in communities
  • Create safe meeting spaces for women and girls from different ethnic groups
  • Improve women’s access to health care
  • Provide policymakers with data on gender equality
  • Advocate for full implementation of equality laws, and include a gender perspective in all legislation

Our work in Macedonia is conducted from our office in Skopje.

Young people breaking stereotypes

In 2017, a large group of secondary school pupils from different ethnic backgrounds met (in spite of language barriers) to challenge stereotypes on gender and ethnicity. Afterwards, many chose to become involved and raise awareness in their own municipalities.

Photo: Aleksandra Tasic / Bujrum

Our partner organisations in Macedonia

  • Association for Advancement of Gender Equality – Akcija Zdruzhenska
  • Coalition Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalised Communities Margins (Coalition Margins)
  • EcHO Educational Humanitarian Organization
  • Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of Republic of Macedonia (MHC)
  • National Network to End Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence
  • One Can!
  • Peach Preach initiative
  • REACTOR – Research in Action

Macedonian women’s rights organisations participate in the global movement One Billion Rising, against violence against women. Photo: Johanna Arkåsen / Kvinna till Kvinna.

News from our partners in Macedonia