Regional Conference: Measuring Gender Equality in the Western Balkans
ReSPA, Danilovgrad, 1 December 2017 – Achieving gender equality in the countries of the Western Balkans being a continuous challenge, issues and policies related to this aspect are inevitably gaining relevance in the pre-accession countries in this region. Gender equality is a new field of work for ReSPA, and its representatives set out to find partners in public administrations of ReSPA Members who could support their endeavour to make a more forceful regional cooperation in this field. Therefore, cooperation was initiated with the Department for Gender Equality of the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro, and their representatives partnered in the organisation of the Regional conference entitled „Measuring Gender Equality in the Western Balkans“. Partners in the conference were also the Coordination Body for Gender Equality of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.
With an aim to influence development of gender equality policies in ReSPA Members, the conference brought together more than 50 public servants dealing with gender equality issues in relevant governmental institutions of the Western Balkans, experts from the region and the EU, representatives of non-governmental organisations active in this field, and representatives of international organizations (UNDP, EIGE, OSCE).
The main themes were gender equality policies in the Western Balkans, and measurements with a focus on the Gender Equality Index and its application in policy making. Also, the participants were acquainted with the main findings of the comparative research on Gender Equality in Public Administration in the Western Balkans.
One of the most interesting themes to the conference participants was the EU’s Gender Equality Index as a composite indicator for measuring the concept of gender equality. Based on the EU policy framework, it also serves to monitor the progress of gender equality across the EU. Measuring progress of gender equality is an integral part of effective policy-making. Thus, the Gender Equality Index supports the development and implementation of evidence-based gender equality policies and legislation, and shows different outcomes of those policies for women and men. It is to be hoped that this mechanism will help to further raise the awareness of public servants in ReSPA Members of progress and challenges in the implementation of gender equality policies.
ReSPA Secretariat and regional public administrations have provided inputs for the Study on Gender Equality in Public Administration in Western Balkans, a research project supported by the European Commission DG NEAR during 2017. The Study is now being finalised, and its preliminary results were presented at the Conference. During 2018, ReSPA will continue exploring options to expand activities in domain of gender equality in public administration.