Promoting equal opportunities for women and men in Macedonia

In Macedonia, women are disadvantaged in the areas of employment, social protection and political participation. To promote equal opportunities, in 2006 the government passed a law on equal opportunities for men and women. To complement Macedonia's reform efforts jointly with national counterparts SDC is funding an equal opportunities project at the municipal level.

Inequality between the sexes is a major obstacle for economic development and reducing poverty. This is also the case in Macedonia where women are disadvantaged in a number of areas even though the Macedonian government ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) already in 1994. Only 35.3% of women in Macedonia are employed, placing the country significantly below the EU average of 58.5%. Similarly, in terms of  qualifications only 15% of women have graduated from a university in comparison with the EU average of about 25%. In addition, political participation of women is severely limited in some localities. For instance, only 8.5% of women in rural areas are members of a political party or a non-governmental organisation and consequently rarely included in local decision-making processes (as of 2011 and 2012).

Since January 2014, the SDC has provided technical and financial support for a UN Women project in Macedonia. UN Women is the United Nations agency that promotes gender equality. The project runs until the end of 2016 and is being carried out in ten municipalities in Macedonia, covering a population of approximately one million. A central concern is the planning of municipal tasks on the basis of gender equality, known as “gender responsive budgeting”, which means that municipal authorities take into account the concerns of both women and men in their financial planning. Women naturally prioritize child-care centres; the safety of school children, particularly as it relates to traffic accidents; and adequate lighting of school facilities. Men, in turn, favor improved services particularly related to early diagnosis of generic diseases. In this way and taking into account budgetary constraints, services and facilities are funded accordingly and based on concerns of both men and women. 

First successes:

In 2013, a national strategy on gender equality (2013-2020) was adopted in Macedonia. The city of Skopje was the first to enact a local strategy on equal opportunities for women and men as part of its efforts to implement national legislation and strategies. A working group is actively involved in ensuring the integration of gender issues in community work.

Source: SDC

Project type
  • Other
Promoting equal opportunities for women and men in Macedonia
Geographical focus
  • Republic of North Macedonia
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • General
January 2014 - December 2016

Entry created by Anna Sirocco on June 28, 2016
Modified on June 28, 2016