Kosovo, November 2012: Promoting Gender Equality & Empowerment

Kosovo Chamber of Advocates and Pristina law students met on 2013 Gender Action Plan

Women in the legal profession in Kosovo face unique challenges to secure employment and to grow professionally. Likewise, women lawyers have limited opportunities to represent, protect, and defend the interests of women, including working mothers, women entrepreneurs and others, in the workplace, in the marketplace, and in their communities. Women represent roughly half of enrolled law students in Kosovo, but less than 12% of licensed lawyers are women. The representation of women in the ranks of judges and prosecutors is equally low.

For the first time, in November 2012, the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates (KCA), opened its annual Gender Committee planning meeting to women law students to debate the role of women in the legal profession. The Gender Committee, comprised of leading women in the legal profession, gave the floor to students—the future generation of women lawyers—to identify goals for the Committee in the forthcoming year. Recognizing the crucial role of women in the development of the country, the Committee’s action plan adopts of “For Women, By Women” approach to advance gender equality. The plan aims to:

  • Increase the number of licensed women lawyers
  • Increase legal literacy and empower marginalized groups
  • Cultivate leaders among women lawyers and law students

The action plan commits to unprecedented support for women law graduates through internships and professional mentoring. Committee members also pledged to promote legal literacy through community-based outreach to marginalized groups, including the rural poor, young people and the elderly, and victims of gender-based violence.

Committee members took the opportunity to share their personal experiences with students, highlighting the challenge of achieving equality in a male-dominated profession, but also noting the importance of taking pride in their work on the frontlines to achieve fairness and equality in Kosovo.

Following endorsement of the action plan and budget by the KCA Executive Board at its December 2012 meeting, Shpresa Rama, Chairwoman of the Gender Committee commented that “the KCA has now demonstrated its determination to enhance women empowerment and inclusion of underrepresented communities into KCA decision-making processes and activities.”