08 March 2015
Today, EULEX will be joining the many people around the world in celebrating International Womens Day, a day where we have the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while recognising the need and calling for greater equality. It is also a moment to reflect on struggles many women still face around the world in achieving greater equality.
There have been improvements in attitudes towards women in Kosovo. Many initiatives now exist that target awareness around issues of gender equality between women and men at home and in public life. And women are increasingly accessing education and employment, as well in the rule-of-law area. But further efforts need to be made to ensure that women have equal opportunities to access their rights as men. The results of peacebuilding always affect both men and women equally. Women should therefore be equally included in peacebuilding processes so that they remain sustainable. This is what UN Security Council Resolution 1325 emphasizes, and EULEX has a duty to take UNSCR 1325 into account both in our internal and external actions. It is particularly important in a post-conflict environment such as Kosovo.
Our Missions Deputy Head of Mission, Joelle Vachter, has throughout thirty years of her career risen to the top in male-dominated environments, including the French military and the French Gendarmerie. We also have many women working for EULEX who are senior judges, prosecutors and police officers. These are all women who have risen through the ranks in male-dominated fields. Both myself and Joelle strongly support the International Womens Day initiative and accordingly urge women in Kosovo not to let societal preconceptions of the role of women get in the way of what you want to achieve. I also urge all men in Kosovo, too, to reflect on the fundamentally important role women play in the promotion and advancement of peace in the world.