The event was held in two parts – the first part was panel discussion, where Madi Sharma and Mentor Kadriu from “Sida” (The Swedish International Agency for Development and Cooperation) presented the importance of inclusion of women in the economy and in the process of entrepreneurship as well, and the significance of having equal employment opportunities for men and women which is necessary to be ensured.
Kadriu raised questions related to agriculture programs where the women from the rural areas can be included. Working with women’s rights, the President of Macedonian Women’s Rights Center – Daniela Dabeska stressed that the activities within the organization since its establishment are focused on promotion and protection of the women’s rights, awareness raising and dealing with the issue of domestic violence, hence with the economic violence on women as well.
Women’s financial and economic insecurity is a big problem followed by economic circumstances with which developing countries such as Macedonia are facing with, while going through the process of transition. MWRC is active since Macedonia declared its independence and up till now is following all the issues of violations of human rights that Macedonian women are having troubles with.
According to MWRC data base from the total number of women that refer for help or advice in our office, due to certain kind of violations of their rights, 72% of them were faced with the problem of economic dependency. This information is showing the strong connection between economic insecurity and the risks of possible victimization of women. For this reason in order to terminate the circle of financial dependency and insecurity it is necessary for the successful women with innovative and creative ideas offering new working places, to be motivated by different institutional structures. The necessary mechanisms must be implemented so the women entrepreneurs will have benefit. In this direction, Madi Sharma presented her successful story, which positive experience will serve for taking initiatives for improving the economic stratus of woman.
Participants - representatives from the UN agencies in Skopje, EU mission in Skopje, and representatives of the non-governmental sector, participated in the discussion through questions and comments. It was stressed that in Macedonia man still has the power and the main role in the family as supplier and provider of financial means. The tradition also takes a part in this matter by obeying customs where the women cannot inherit any property in favor of the husband who can for example. Due to this fact, women are faced with difficulties for receiving bank loans for starting a business because of the simple fact that it are necessary having property to be encumbered by mortgage.
The second part of the event was more interactive and organized as a workshop delivered by Sharma, where participants directly took part by considering “in-box” thinking and taking steps for “out-box” activities, creating simulation of trade market behavior, selling products and filling evaluation forms afterwards. This workshop had a purpose to develop the abilities of market consideration and finding possibilities and ways of benefit, so every representative can deliver this model to their own target group.
The idea for organizing such an event came as a follow up of the People to People Study Visit: “Combating Discrimination – Legislative and Positive Practices” held in Brussels in the mid-April 2009. The Study visit’s aim to Brussel was to offer possibilities to the participants to visit EU institutions in order to familiarize themselves with EU structures, policy making process, programs, policies and best practices. The Study visit also was to inform the participating representatives of civil society about international and European legal bases against discrimination on different grounds, to give good examples and to offer them exchange and networking opportunities among themselves as well as with European-level civil society organizations active against discrimination.