Gender equality is central to EU membership (Romania) and accession treaties (Albania, BiH, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia). Nonetheless, women in political life in SEE face many obstacles, including gender-based discrimination and stifling traditional gender roles. Women are politically underrepresented in all SEE countries, and in all decision-making bodies. Women from ethnic minority groups as well as LGBTQI+ communities face further marginalization and exclusion.
This qualitative research in six countries (Albania, BiH, Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia) found a number of challenges to increasing this participation. This research investigated socio-cultural norms that impact women’s political participation and leadership in politics. These factors include the pervasiveness of stereotypical roles of women and men in society, lack of visibility of women's contributions to public and political action, and perceptions of politics as a male-dominated field.
The research particularly focused on participants’ awareness, types, and frequency of VAW-P. It revealed low general awareness of VAW-P, yet high experience of or witnessing of VAW-P among study participants. Research participants stated that violence against women in the politics in their country is widespread. As many as 40 percent in the survey reported witnessing some form of violence in politics. Politicians from BiH, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia believe that gender-based violence happening in politics is a "normalized occurrence". Participants from Albania and Kosovo believe that gender-based violence against women in the politics of their country is not perceived as a "normalized occurrence."
This preliminary report details the early findings of a research conducted for NDI, FEPS and Olof Palme International Center.