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Politike

BIRN: More in numbers but less in words, study exposes gender inequality in municipal councils

BIRN: More in numbers but less in words, study exposes gender inequality in

A study on the debates in the country's municipal councils published in Tirana on Thursday, revealed that gender equality ensured through quotas and the obligation of political parties to present closed lists of candidates with an equal composition of male and female candidates, seems not to have been accompanied with an improvement in political discourse in these councils, where men continue to overwhelmingly dominate and where women, when speaking, are 2.5 times more likely than men to be interrupted.

The study entitled When numbers lie, authored by Marsela Dauti and Geldona Metaj, was carried out by the Women's Empowerment Network in Albania (AWEN).

In April 2015, the Assembly of Albania approved equal gender quotas in municipal councils, while the country implemented an administrative and territorial reform, which was widely seen as an instrument that, while aiming to increase efficiency in administration, brought about a weakening of political representation. and local democracy. The reform also did not escape the practices of 'gerrymanderization' of the electoral map and the creation of several small and dysfunctional municipalities as a result of political bargaining between the parties that constituted the governing alliance at that time.

However, the political maneuvers between the ruling parties meant that, although the law provided for gender equality, in practice in the 2015 elections, there was no equal representation in any of the country's municipalities, while in some, women made up only 10 or 20% of the councils. This happened because regional strongmen run under the name of small parties, which typically win only one mandate, the first of the list, which is male.

The situation improved in subsequent elections thanks to additional rules, and yet, even in last year's elections, electoral maneuvers resulted in women occupying 43% of councils rather than 50%.

Inequality appears even higher in the analysis of the debates held in the municipal councils.

During the period August-December 2023, a period that includes the constitution of new municipal councils after the elections as well as the debates on the draft budget of each municipality that usually takes place in December, researchers and 11 researchers analyzed 49 meetings, the debates of which were transcribed.

They counted 8,300 cases where councilors have taken the floor and found that the gender gap in taking the floor is high.

“Burrat e morën fjalën 6,169 herë (74.33%) dhe gratë e morën fjalën 2,131 herë (25.67%)”, shënohet në studim.

“Burrat dominojnë diskutimet në të gjitha këshillat e marrë në studim. Dominimi i burrave në diskutime ndihet veçanërisht në këshillin bashkiak të Korçës (81.05%), Malësisë së Madhe (84.80%), Pukës (80.97%), dhe Sarandës (85.53%). Figura 3 paraqet numrin e herëve që këshilltarët kanë marrë fjalën—të ndarë sipas gjinisë—në secilin këshill bashkiak,” thuhet më tej në studim.

Gratë këshilltare përballen shumë më shpesh se sa burrat me ndërprerjen e fjalës, edhe pse flasin më rrallë.

“Ndërprerja e fjalës mund të vinte nga Kryetari i këshillit, këshilltarë të tjerë, apo administrata e Bashkisë. Grupi i punës evidentoi 977 raste të ndërprerjes së fjalës (11.77%),” theksohet në studim.

“Grave ju ndërpre fjala 453 herë nga 2,131 herë që e morën fjalën (21.26%); ndërkohë, burrave ju ndërpre fjala 524 herë nga 6,169 herë që e morën fjalën (8.49%). Me fjalë të tjera, grave u ndërpritet fjala rreth 2.5 herë më shpesh se burrave.”

Këshillat bashkiake në Shqipëri zgjidhen nga listat e mbyllura të partive politike. Qytetarët votojnë për një parti të caktuar, e cila nga ana e vet, përcakton kandidatët për këshilltarë. Besohet gjerësisht se mungesa e demokracisë së brendshme në partitë politike, pamundësia e qytetarëve për të zgjedhur se cilët prej kandidatëve duan të dërgojnë në këshill apo dominimi i diskursit publik nga krerët e partive kombëtare edhe në rastet e zgjedhjeve për pushtetin vendor, i ka bërë këshillat bashkiake institucione të dobëta, të paafta për të mbajtur llogaridhënës kryetarin apo kryetaren e bashkisë apo stafin e bashkisë. Kjo bën që këshilltarët bashkiakë të kenë pak fuqi reale për të ndikuar politikëbërjen në nivel vendor.

Studimi rendit një numër rastesh të cilësuara nga studiuesit si “praktika autokratike” në të cilat, mbledhjet e këshillave bashkiake u dominuan nga kryetari, këshilltarëve nuk iu dha përgjigje për pyetjet e ngritura apo, në një rast, një kryetare bashkie kritikonte këshilltarët se pse ata bënin pyetje.

“Gjatë analizimit të mbledhjeve vëzhguam praktika që na shqetësuan së tepërmi. Konkretisht, këshilltarët e partisë në pushtet iu kërkonin këshilltarëve të opozitës të mos ngrinin pyetje në këshill, por t'i kërkonin përgjigjet vetë në zyrat e Bashkisë; sulmuan një organizatë jo-qeveritare për të dëmtuar reputacionin dhe besueshmërinë e organizatës tek publiku; si dhe iu kundërpërgjigjën kritikave ndaj Bashkisë me falenderime drejtuar Kryetarëve të Bashkisë apo qeverisë qendrore,” thuhet në raport

Raporti vëren gjithashtu se, megjithëse mjetet ekzistojnë që këshillat bashkiake të bëjnë transmetim në internet, administratat e disa bashkive dukshëm kontrolluan transmetimet për llogari të kryetarit.

In-depth interviews with women members of councils pointed out the fact that their position within the respective parties is much weaker than that of men and that they do not feel sure that they will run again. They also reported misogynistic behavior from men and comments like "it's you" or "you don't know anything" or the fact that their proposals or requests for information are simply ignored as irrelevant.

Gender equality in decision-making is a widely debated issue around the world, while numerical equality is often easier to achieve in countries where power is concentrated in certain hands and where parliaments or councils have a figurative role.

Currently in Albania, more than half of the members of the Council of Ministers are women and approximately one in every three MPs is also a woman. Even many countries with few democratic credentials, such as Saudi Arabia, North Korea or Rwanda, have a high representation of women in councils or parliaments, but this clearly shows the opposite of what is pretended.

"Autocratic leaders use the numerical increase of women in politics to improve their reputation in the international arena, to legitimize power in the eyes of the public and civil society organizations, or to shift attention away from political or economic crises—strategies that help them stay more long in power," the researchers note in the report, referring to numerous international studies on the misuse of women to mask the lack of democracy.

"...gender equality reforms are transformed into a manipulative instrument that, although it seems as if they promote good governance, in reality they weaken it," the study underlines./Reporter.al

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