Kosovo has the lowest female labor force participation rate in the Western Balkans and one of the lowest rates in the world. Barriers to female employment in Kosovo are related to a variety of interrelated factors, including stereotypes related to men’s physical capacity to carry out more difficult types of labor. These false beliefs lead to discrimination in hiring women to perform jobs culturally considered “for men.” Similarly, the persistent axiom that women are “caretakers” by nature effectively closes off entire sectors of the economy for women. Shutting out an entire gender from sectors of Kosovo’s already struggling economy is a recipe for continued high unemployment and economic stagnation.
To provide more economic opportunities for women and girls and to challenge these false narratives, USAID is striving to diversify male-dominated sectors by equipping women with the skills and confidence they need to compete. Through USAID’s Compete activity, the mission has partnered with the Association of the Wood Producers and Processors to train 50 women on wood product design and production, of which 21 women have since gained full time employment. For more information on the women in the wood sector, please check the video of Mimoza Ukaj Here