Armed forces in the region aim to include more women.
By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 07/02/13
Regional countries aim to increase women's participation in the armed forces. [AFP]
Attempts are being made to increase the participation of women in the armed forces in Southeast European countries.
The Kosovo Security Force (KSF) counts 2,500 members, of which 188 are women, including officers and lieutenant officers.
Ibrahim Shala, KSF spokesperson, told SETimes that the KSF ministry regulates "the process of army ranks promotion, which is open and transparent."
"We intend to have a bigger representation of women … in KSF," Shala said, adding this is an important element in meeting the EU integration and NATO standards.
The ministry abides by the policy of human rights and gender equality, with an action plan "which foresees concrete steps to advance gender and communities equality."
A human rights unit oversees the representation of communities and women in the ministry and KSF.
Kosovo held recruiting campaigns through mobile and static teams, media and citizen meetings to encourage female participation.
According to the Macedonian defence ministry, the state army counts 3,707 soldiers, including 110 women.
Fatmir Besimi, Macedonia's minister of defence, said a gender equality committee was formed to include more women in leading army structures and the defence ministry.
"Women should be included in decision-taking process at all levels, national, regional and international, in conflict prevention, management, and solution, and in peacekeeping negotiations," Besimi told SETimes.
Macedonia adopted a programme to promote equal opportunity for men and women in the army and defence ministry in 2009, with an annual budget of 25,000 euros.
The programme aims to detect any discrimination in the military service, remove obstacles for women's participation in the armed forces, and encourage female citizens to apply for military jobs.
Albania currently has 10,300 soldiers, of which 1,100 are women. Many of the army women have served in international peacekeeping operations, including the 2006 ISAF mission in Afghanistan and missions in Kabul and Kosovo.
Albania is also attentive to women's participation in the army.
Lorisa Ylli, Albanian ministry of defence spokesperson, said the gender issue and women's role in the Albanian Army became part of the educational programs a few years ago.
"Professional women soldiers in the armed forces will be up to 15 percent of the total number [in the near future]," Ylli told SETimes. That means that there is not only the will, but also the required legal basis for the women's role in the armed forces."