More than 10 years ago, EIGE as the EU's knowledge centre on gender equality, started working with EU candidate countries and potential candidates under the European Commission's Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). The goal was to improve gender equality in the Western Balkans and Türkiye region.
After over a decade, here are 10 key achievements and reflections:
- For policies to effect meaningful change, they need to be shaped and designed with on-the-ground information. EIGE supported the development of the gender equality indices for Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo1, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. With these indices, users have been able to closely monitor key achievements across main gender equality areas and where further improvements are needed.
- Comparability is key. Through the gender equality indices, countries can compare their results in the region as well as with the EU, so they can have a broader picture view on where gender equality stands – and how to progress further.
- Understanding gender equality terminology and definitions is important for everyone involved in the field for mutual understanding. EIGE’s Glossary and Thesaurus has been translated into four new languages - Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian and Serbian to assist the region.
- Data is imperative to see gaps and opportunities for gender equality. EIGE has collected data on women and men in decision-making in the region to offer clarity on the current state of the representation of women in government, business and other areas.
- Violence against Women (VAW) needs to stop, and it can be stopped – and data is needed to do so. The recently published report on strengthening data systems on VAW in the Western Balkans and Türkiye highlights the current data gaps while providing steps to better collect disaggregated data for stronger response efforts to adapt prevention support to the specific needs of victims.
- Bringing conversations to life in interactive sessions has been a core component of the cooperation. Over the years 15 Regional Coordination Meetings have been organised. Representatives from the governments, EU delegations and civil society from the EU candidate countries and a potential candidate maintained continual dialogue on priority areas.
- Ideas need lived examples. Good practices pave the way for further progress. To make the work on gender equality more actionable EIGE developed a collection of 15 promising initiatives in the region on how to improve gender equality.
- Diverse voices bring broader perspectives. The scope of the cooperation extended to journalists, members of academia and civil society in the region. Across various collaborations, EIGE’s knowledge and tools formed the basis for comprehensive dialogue and action.
- Process matters. The totality of the cooperation has seen a rich roster of engagements. Since 2017 more than 100 project-related events, meetings and activities were organised or participated in by EIGE, fostering a vibrant platform for dialogue, knowledge sharing, and collaboration.
- And finally, these achievements were made possible thanks to the continued financial support of DG NEAR through a series of five IPA project cycles.
Our partners' memories from cooperation over the years
1This designation is without prejudice to positions of status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence