Kosova Women for Women shares experience at Taiwan’s event for Women’s History Month

In observance of Women’s History Month, Taiwan’s Foundation of Women's Rights Promotion and Development (FWRPD) is coordinating a series of activities in March, including ACCELERATING WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT webinar organized by the Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 18.

Taiwan’s Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang, State Secretary to Minister for Gender Equality of Sweden, Karin Strandås, Taiwan’s Ambassador at Large Lin Ching-Yi and Dr. liriana Gashi, the Executive Director of Kosova Women for Women (K-W4W) participated in the dialogue.

Gashi, who had been to Taiwan, shared her experiences in advancing women’s economic rights and independence in Kosovo. She indicated high unemployment of women in Kosovo. In Kosovo, only 20% of women are registered active participants in the labor market, compared to 65.7% of men. Furthermore, only 13% of working age women are employed in comparison with 47% of men. Her organization has been helping the social and economic empowerment of women since 1999, around 35,000 have received social and economic empowerment trainings. As a result of their work, over 10 businesses and 50 associations have been established by women who graduated from their programs. Gashi also expressed her gratitude to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs funding for K-W4W computers and printers in need.

Due to the pandemic impact, the government and parliament of Kosovo have special programs directly support to businesses owned by women. Gashi said, however, women in Kosovo has suffered jobs lost in the informal sector, such as child care, maintaining of the houses. K-W4W has organized the payment of a minimal salary for women who have lost their jobs.

K-W4W also welcome the local businesses to use its business incubator in its own building. In addition, K-W4W has cooperated with multinational companies. The cooperation with Body Shop in their campaign “Come Together, Act Together” has given an opportunity for funds to one of its members. This is a recently great example of investing in women’s empowerment and supporting marginalized women to earn. Giving the rights to women and more economic power in women’s hand is good for men as well, Gashi said.

The 65th session of UN CSW runs from March 15-26. Held as part of the non-government organization forum to the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (NGO-CSW), there will be another 26 parallel sessions organized by Taiwanese NGOs. The active participation of Taiwan’s civil society organizations in the NGO-CSW forum is an indication of the advances Taiwan has made toward gender equality in recent years.

Due to COVID-19, NGO-CSW65 will largely be a virtual event. Despite the restrictions, the enthusiastic participation of Taiwan’s NGOs shows that Taiwan is ready to hit the road running in the post-pandemic race for gender equality.