For job openings in the municipality of Gjilan, women are given a greater priority in hiring.

“In the Municipality`s Directorate of Education, last months` employments show that 70% of the employees are women, whereas 30% of them are men. Also, in the municipality`s administration and in civil service, in equal conditions more priority was given to women,” says Lindita Salihu, official for gender equality in Gjilan.

Out of 90,178 inhabitants of Gjilan, 50.29% are men whereas 49.71% are women.

According to the evaluations made in January 2016 by the Municipality of Gjilan, the number of employees in public institutions based on gender is 1,334 men and 1,055 women.

There are no exact data how many people are employed in the private sector in the last years. But according to the data of the municipality, in 2012, out of 8,699 individuals who gained employment, only 2,078 were women.

Agim Zuzaku, director of the Department for Economic Development in Gjilan, says that the municipality is working toward economic empowerment of women.

“One of the objectives of the strategy for socio-economic development is the empowerment of entrepreneur women. We have created the informal women network. The purpose of this network is advocating in local and public institutions or advocating for problems which women in business face, starting from the implementation of affirmative measures which are required in the law for gender equality – which often are not applied in local or public institutions,” he emphasizes.

According to Zuzaku, the second stage of this project is finding grants and donors to fund businesses owned by women.

“Men often misunderstand this or try make use of it because of women`s priority be it in business or agriculture, e.g. in agriculture regardless of the focus of the business, it gains more points if the owner is a woman,” he added.

The number of businesses registered by women in the Center for Businesses Registration during 2016 was 101.

Qëndresa Hajdari, project manager at the NGO “Gruaja Hyjnore” in Gjilan, who deals with gender equality advancement, says that the number of women entrepreneurs in this municipality has been increased, but according to her there is still a need to do more in this field.

“Since our inception (in 2012) we as an NGO have worked a lot with women aged 15-50.  We raised awareness of health problems for women of all ages, and how to prevent them. We also raised awareness for their rights in property and inheritance, empowering women through handiwork and seamstress trainings, trainings for employment, and other activities,” she emphasizes.

According to Hajdari, the biggest interest of elder women is sewing and handicrafts. Women who are younger and have finished their studies are more interested in business and in getting employed in the public sector.

Gentiana Ajvazi, owner of “Genta” beauty salon, says that it was hard to own abusiness but that she does not lack success.

“I have had this profession for 13 years now. Any job has its difficulties, but when you like something and you do not give up, success will not be absent/you will be successful. For me it was difficult and pleasant at the same time since I like this profession,” she says.

Gentiana is not only making her dream come true, but is also helping other women in the same field.

“I have always offered everyone the possibility to gain more experience at my salon and I keep training groups of women, since each of us should find what we like,” she adds.

According to a 2016 report of the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, the rate of unemployment for women in Kosovo in 2014 was 41.6% compared to 33.1% of men, whereas in 2015 the unemployment rate for women was 36.6% and for men it was 31.8%.

Arbresha Berisha