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In collaboration with the Democracy for Development (D4D) organization, the Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society, and other partners, a project titled “Underestimated Economy: Unpaid Work of Women as an Obstacle to Economic Empowerment” was jointly conducted.

The research aimed at a comparative analysis of the care economy in the Western Balkans region. The care economy is the foundation of economic and social life, encompassing both paid and unpaid work, with a focus on caring for those who need it the most, primarily undertaken by women and marginalized groups. For the purposes of the research, both survey and focus group research were conducted to identify the major challenges in the domain of unpaid work. Based on the research results, recommendations were formulated to improve the position of women.

During the regional conference held on November 20, 2023, at the Priština Hotel in Priština, the results of the research conducted in the Western Balkans were presented. Svetlana Stefanović, the executive director of the Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society and one of the research authors, presented the findings. Some of the key findings include that existing legal frameworks such as equal pay regulations, anti-discrimination legislation, and parental leave programs help empower women. These policies, when adhered to, ensure equal treatment, protect women from workplace discrimination, and encourage employed mothers. On the other hand, the lack of workplace rights for women, rules that limit employment prospects, and the perpetuation of gender stereotypes, along with limited access to affordable childcare services and support, contribute to barriers to empowerment. Furthermore, another hindering factor is the lack of recognition of unpaid care as a legitimate profession deserving of salary and benefits.

Following the regional conference, a regular meeting of the Regional Committee for Increasing Women’s Access to Employment was held, of which BFPE is a part. The meeting discussed ways to advocate for the changes identified in the research.

Partners on the project include the Democracy for Development Institute, the Center for Research and Policy Making, the Institute for Strategic Studies and Projections, the Gender Alliance for Development Center, and the Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society.

This post is also available in SRP.

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