Changing Perceptions About Women's Property Rights One Community at a Time

Speeches Shim

Friday, October 23, 2020
Photo from one of CSD workshops

Despite the many successes in rule of law and human rights, property rights remain out of reach for many in Kosovo.  One of the many USAID grantees, Communication for Social Development, is pushing for behavior change in small communities across Kosovo to recognize women’s right to claim property.  What better place for them to start than at school where students are forming their opinions about equal rights and the world around them.  

As part of a small grant from USAID’s Engagement for Equity Activity, Communication for Social Development offered classes on property rights to students in Serbian-speaking high schools.  Nikola Ivanovic is one of the students who participated in USAID-funded classes earlier this year.  “Somehow I always knew that women and men should have equal rights, but I was astonished to find out how little we as a society give efforts to women’s rights and especially to their property rights,” said Nikola following these classes.  But Nikola is not alone, Dragana Petrovic, Executive Director of Moravski Biseri, continues to push for change.  Recently, she initiated the launch of a platform to promote the realization of women’s property rights in Kosovo-Serb communities. According to Dragana, “the platform is the cornerstone to promoting women’s property rights.” 

According to a national survey on property rights conducted in 2015, only 17 percent of women in Kosovo own real property.  This reduces women’s standing as an equal member of society and in their families; and often means a complete economic dependency on male members.  To address this, USAID is taking a holistic approach by working with authorities at the central and local levels to adjust policies and make them accessible for women.  This ensures that lending institutions are facilitating easier access for women in business to use their property as collateral for a loan.  USAID, through its Engagement for Equity Activity grants and its Property Rights Program, strives to increase public awareness on the importance of property rights as a human right for all and works to make it within reach for all women of Kosovo.