- Country: Skopje, Macedonia
- Works for: Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)
- Role in #women2030: Consulting expert
- Related SDGs: SDG 5, SDG 10, SDG 13, SDG 17
I am the Programme Director at Journalists for Human Rights, working on equitable access to water and sanitation in rural remote areas of Macedonia. I believe that if the sustainable development goals (SDGs) are seen as a tool for accomplishing a more just society on social, economic and environmental level, then gender equality is imperative for their fulfilment. As a representative of the JHR, I have daily contact with women from marginalised groups (women from rural areas, unemployed, linguistic, cultural and ethnic minorities, as well as women with special needs). I try to bring the SDGs closer to their needs.
In Macedonia, above all, there is a big ignorance of the SDGs, which means that many refuse to work on their achievement. The political ambiance last decade in Macedonia did not allow its citizens, particularly not women and girls, to get closer to a gender and environmentally just future. Just as an illustration, the government’s campaign to stimulate the growth of families has put the woman in a subordinate social role, directly attacking gender equality. The anti-abortion laws once again put the woman in a subordinate position, violating the basic human rights of health and well-being.
The basic right to health has also been denied due to lack of adequate access to safe water and sanitation. The inability to manage menstrual hygiene from school and work is due to inadequate public spending which is regulated strictly.
To overcome these inequalities and lack of awareness, we started meeting with women from different social statuses and groups, organizing them and building each and every one of them to have a stance of their own, to win their “place under the sun“. Through engaged events and direct meetings with women from rural areas, but also with female politicians, leaders, we worked to show them their importance as individuals. We have held regular meetings and roundtables which help inform women about their rights and outlay their and our needs for achieving the SDGs and gender equality. We established 8 women’s groups in all 8 regions of Macedonia where women can come and talk about their needs, challenges, and successes.