UN Women campaign highlights the media’s role in promoting gender equality in Kosovo
UN Women and the Association of Journalists of Kosovo have trained 20 journalists and 25 university students to accurately report on Gender Responsive Budgeting, as a legal mechanism in Kosovo to achieve gender equality.
Date: Thursday, June 17, 2021
The public in Kosovo is unfamiliar with the concept of Gender Responsive Budgeting as a way of tackling inequalities. The media is an important partner in addressing this issue. The role of the media and its impact is even more evident when it comes to ensuring transparency as well as monitoring and reporting on democratic processes, such as budget allocations.
The cooperation with the media to influence public opinion and to inform them about Gender Responsive Budgeting is seen as crucial. For this reason, UN Women and the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) implemented a countrywide joint campaign under the banner of ‘Reporting Week for Gender Responsive Budgeting’.
The campaign aimed to introduce journalists and mass communication students to the main principles of Gender Responsive Budgeting, as a legal means of targeting the integration of a gender perspective in budgeting circulars, planning, implementing, and for monitoring public expenses.
Through the project entitled: ‘Transformative Financing for Gender Equality towards more transparent, Inclusive and Accountable Governance in the Western Balkans’, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), UN Women and AJK held a series of two-day workshops. Three different session were held with local and central media in Kosovo as well as the students of the Mass Communication department at AAB College, a private educational institution in Kosovo.
The objective of the workshops was to train 20 journalists and 25 university students on how gender inequalities can be addressed through Gender Responsive Budgeting. These 45 participants are now able to report on this type of budgeting in a non-biased, ethical, and gender-sensitive way.
As part of the campaign, AJK engaged five journalists to write informative articles about Gender Responsive Budgeting with the aim of raising awareness among citizens. AJK also disseminated messages from journalists and representatives of different organizations about the importance of Gender Responsive Budgeting and they also promoted best practices.
There is significant value in promoting good practices. This is because the media shapes public opinion and these institutions can be instrumental in opening-up more space for gender equality discussions. Ermira Lubani, a Gender Responsive Budgeting programme specialist at UN Women, considers the engagement of the media as indispensable.
“Media play a very important role in the society. They report on recent events and mobilize citizens on various issues. They reproduce culture and have the power to influence attitudes and behaviours. As such, the media can create transformative content and break gender stereotypes by challenging norms and stereotypes. It can be an influential actor in promoting gender equality,”, says Lubani.
Kosovo has laws that regulate and promote gender equality, including the Law in Gender Equality, Family Law, and the Law on Protection Against Domestic Violence. The Law on Gender Equality in Kosovo specifies that Gender Responsive Budgeting is a legally binding instrument to ensure that gender equality principles are respected when collecting and distributing public resources.
Nevertheless, the gender gap in budget planning only deepened during the period of COVID-19. According to Vlora Tuzi Nushi, the Head of the UN Women Office in Kosovo, the socio-economic effects of the pandemic are more pronounced on women.
“COVID-19 affected women differently to men. Women were more affected by the economic crisis. We must ensure that women benefit as much as men when it comes to public funding and policies. To reach this objective, Gender Responsive Budgeting should be at the heart of all socio-economic pandemic recovery measures,” says Tuzi Nushi.
Meanwhile, Erion Kollçaku, one of the journalists who attended AJK’s workshops, emphasizes the media’s key role in informing and advocating for gender equality. “Gender Responsive Budgeting is the foundation where gender equality begins. Genuine journalism should, at all costs, make this concept known and promote it as a legal obligation,” Erion says.
The Kosovar journalist states that the media is a duty-bearer when it comes to informing the public on gender issues. “The public must be informed regarding gender equality issues, respectively on Gender Responsive Budgeting. Therefore, accurate, unbiased reporting is more than important,” the journalist says.
Even though Kosovo has a consolidated legal base that demands the implementation of Gender Responsive Budgeting, the lack of mechanisms and measurement indicators within public institutions makes it challenging to accurately see to what extent budgeting was gender-sensitive.
Therefore, local and international organizations must continue with their commitment to promoting good practices and advocating about these issues. Meanwhile, the media must remain dedicated to keeping public institutions accountable on how their budgets are planned and spent, and to monitor if the planning procedures includes gender analysis, as required by law.
 For the European Union, this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. For UN Women, references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).