Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) Program

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USAID commits to increased participation of women in commerce

USAID commits to increased participation of women in commercePhoto by: The USAID Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) Program

June 3, Pristina - For the past fifteen years, USAID has been working with the Kosovo Government, private sector, and civil society organizations to build a stronger, more vibrant economy, where both men and women have equal opportunities to earn an income and provide for their families. Research on the women’s role in the economy, findings shows that women’s economic empowerment is a significant contributor to economic growth.

Despite all the evidence proving that empowering women is smart economic policy, women are frequently at a disadvantage when pursuing economic opportunities, such as employment, training and education, access to finance and property ownership, and so. In Kosovo:

The rate of unemployment for women is 40%

Women make up 0.3% of the top managers in private companies

Women represent only 11% of small business owners

Just 8% of women are land owners

These statistics remind us of the current slow pace of economic progress in Kosovo. In order to speed up this process, the Government of Kosovo, USAID, other donors, and private sector stakeholders should work together to tackle the constraints preventing women from maximizing their potential as active participants in the economy. These challenges are present in monitoring, implementation and enforcement of existing anti-discrimination laws and policies, as well as in the entrenched gender stereotypes widely accepted by society.

"Today's Women and Commerce Conference demonstrates the United States Government’s dedication to the continuing development of the economic and legal systems of Kosovo, with the expressed desire of helping to foster the increased participation of women," - said Maureen A. Shauket during the Women and Commerce Conference.

The Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) Program report on Gender Equality in Commerce, which was presented today, is an example of how USAID’s gender policies and strategies translate into “real world” actions. The report surveyed public perceptions about the barriers to to opportunities that women face in both the economic and legal environments. Report findings and recommendations will assist the Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) Program and other USAID programs develop future activities with a better understanding of how to address real and perceived gender gaps in economic participation.

USAID's commitment to gender equality is guided by the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy, as well as by the USAID/Kosovo Mission’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (2014-2018).

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