Women in Kosovo continue to face discrimination in all fields of life, be it employment or their right to property where only 12 percent of women inherit family property. Judicial system is considered to be one of the reason behind this situation, said panelists at the conference organised by the Initiative for Justice and Equality (INJECT) where the publication “Amendment of Family Law, Joint Property and Financial Maintenance” was presented.
Executive Director of the Initiative for Justice and Equality, Luljeta Aliu, said that although the number of educated women is quite high in Kosovo, when it comes to employment, they face discrimination and men are always appointed to senior posts. Aliu said over 60 percent of women face systematic and institutional violence and that this is because of certain provisions set forth in the Family Law which INJECT requests to be amended. According to Aliu, only 12 percent of women in Kosovo own property.
“The request for amending the Family Law is based on the contribution of partners in the family and the creation of joint assets and property which is considered equal… the law itself has stipulated this but the law has been corrupted in the judicial practice as it is not implemented in the same way. The word work and contribution are used as synonyms in the law while the judicial practice views them differently,” Aliu said.
Head of the Kosovo Assembly’s Committee on Legislation and Mandates, Albulena Haxhiu, said that amendments to Family Law requested by the Initiative for Justice and Equality have already been incorporated. Haxhiu admitted that the justice system has many problems and noted that except for the judiciary, there are women notaries who are committing violations by not properly informing women of consequences in giving up their property. Haxhiu said the patriarchal mentality affects discrimination of women highlighting current composition of the Kosovo government when out of twelve leaders, only two are women.
At the same time, Jo-Anne Bishop from UNMIK said that economic violence is a global problem and that this is more ephasised in Kosovo because of the unemployment level and the low number of women that own property. She elaborated on the reasons why the United Nations have supported the initiative for amending the Family Law: “The first reason is because this will help it align with international standards and standards of inheritance referring to economic violence, not to mention other standards. The other reason is that this will directly help in reducing and preventing the cases of gender-based violence by ensuring that women have financial means to leave abusive situations.”