Women’s participation in politics and decision-making in Albania

Gender equality in political participation is a key element and a prerequisite for advancing the democracy. The improvement of the position of women and gender equality remains a challenge not only for Albania but also for other countries.

Although Albania has made some progress in terms of legal framework toward increasing women’s participation in politics and decision-making the current situation shows that women are still under-represented. Women represent approximately 50% of the population in Albania while only 15 % of members of parliament are women, thus being ranked among countries with a low proportion of women in national parliaments.

A significant majority of citizens affirm that the women are under-represented in
politics and decisions making, blaming for that political environment dominated by men and characterized by aggressive nature.

Gender equality and defense of women rights are taken into protection by the Albanian
constitutional principles and in a more dedicated way by special laws such as Family Code, Law on gender equality in society, Law on protection from discrimination, Electoral Code and other related laws which provide an opportunity for women to be equally treated and likewise benefit equal position with men.

The aspects of gender quota have been also subject to amendments made in 2012
in the Electoral Code. According to the Law on Gender Equality in Society gender quota requires equal gender representation, not only in the membership of the Parliament of not less than 30% but also in selected units of local government of above 30 % of each gender. So, even the inclusion of the gender quota regulation into Electoral Code did not bring the expected results, because women continue to be under-represented in decision-making processes and positions.

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Promoting gender equality both in the areas of politics and legislation as well as in society is a long and complex process. Gender stereotypes and gender inequalities have been developing over decades; any initiatives to remedy those inequalities must be strategic and long-term oriented. It is also crucial to avoid a limited interpretation of gender equality, as only referring to anti-discrimination measures. The absence of discrimination is not sufficient to promote gender equality, but should rather be accompanied by concrete activities and positive measures contributing to substantive equality, equal opportunities, equal access to opportunities, and equivalent results.

For more information, visit: http://eca.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2013/11/womens-participation-in-politics-albania

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