Champions of Gender Equality: Albania joins SEESAC’s Gender Coach Programme

With Albania joining Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro in SEESAC’s Gender Coach Programme, South East Europe is striving for gender equality in the areas of policy-making where it is needed the most: safety and security.

In South East Europe, if a woman is killed, she will most likely be killed by her intimate partner - a man, with a firearm. And while more than 90% of firearms are owned by men, men also account for the overwhelming majority of perpetrators and victims of gun violence. However, the gender perspective is still a missing piece when it comes to safety and security laws and policies. Drawing upon its 16 years of placing gender equality at the core of all its actions on small arms and light weapons (SALW) control, SEESAC initiated the Gender Coach Programme. Based on a Swedish model, the Gender Coach Programme provides one-on-one sessions on gender equality to decision-makers in the region. For the past year, Assistant Minister Ermin Pesto, of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of the SALW Commission Mladen Markovic, of Montenegro have been working with Dragan Bozanic, SEESAC’s Gender and Research Specialist, on mainstreaming gender in their everyday jobs.

This March, the month globally chosen to praise and acknowledge the significant contributions women had over the years to the development of our societies, Rovena Voda, lawyer, Deputy Minister of Interior of Albania, and president of the SALW Commission, has joined the Gender Coach Programme, becoming the third champion of gender equality leading her country towards policies that best serve the needs of all citizens.

In line with the new United Nations Development Programme Strategic plan and the Global Goals (especially Goals 5 on Gender Equality and Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), the Gender Coach Programme places gender equality as a key to unlocking the cross-cutting solutions for the pressing development problems of our times, from fighting crime with guns to eradicating poverty. Therefore, the Gender Coach Programme goes beyond offering the usual solutions for mainstreaming gender in SALW Control policies, and aims to change the way trainees see the world - with gender lenses on – using concrete everyday examples, such as how women are portrayed in magazines and newspapers, what toys are being sold to children based on sex, and by getting to the core of concepts like masculinity and power.   

The Gender Coach Programme is funded by the European Union within the framework of  EU COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2016/2356.