A Guide for Practitioners and Interested Stakeholders
By Erald Lamja
As a result of laws, policies, and programs, Albania has seen improvements in various aspects related to gender equality. This can be shown by Albania’s progress in the Global Gender Gap Index (GAP) of the World Economic Forum since 2006 (World Economic Forum 2018). However, this improvement is primarily a result of women’s increased formal representation in politics, and is weakly matched by equality scores in all other dimensions, including “Economic participation and opportunity”.
Implementation of the legal and policy frameworks for gender equality remains a challenge. Even though the percentage of enterprises owned or run by women increased in all regions of Albania during the period 2016-2017 (INSTAT, 2018), the pace of women’s economic inclusion through private sector development has been slow, especially for rural women. Gender norms, roles, responsibilities, and gender bias in women’s access to productive resources (such as land, finance, networks, technology, equipment, and business development services) persist and pose challenges for Albanian women in both economic and social spheres.
Albanian statistics on gaps between men and women in economic development illustrate that market systems are not gender neutral. Gender norms that result in discrimination can be found at all levels of the economic and social systems.
In Albania, women own or manage 25.7 percent of registered enterprises (INSTAT, 2019).
In 2017, Albanian women were paid 10.5 percent less than men in similar positions and with comparable experience (INSTAT, 2019). The estimated per capita gross national income for women is USD 9,702, compared to men at USD 14,028 (UNDP, 2018).
Women are over-represented in Albania’s informal economy and as unpaid family workers in businesses and on farms. Over 40 percent of Albanian women work in agriculture (LFS 2018) – with the vast majority in unpaid, informal family jobs (FAO 2018).
More than 80 percent of land titles are in the name of the ‘head of household’ or former head of household (husband, father-in-law, brother, father, grandfather), limiting women’s entitlements to productive resources and services that directly derive from holding a land title (such as registering as farming business, credit, and extension service) [ (Zhllima, et al. 2016); (UN Women 2016); (UN Women & UNDP 2016)].
Women in rural areas have limited access to agricultural and market information, and experience high levels of inequality in family decision-making (Zhllima, et al. 2016). They are rarely members of, or represented in, formal associations or committees.
According to the Albanian Time Use Survey, women carry out 86 percent of unpaid work and 96 percent of domestic chores (INSTAT 2011). This results in time poverty, negatively impacting women’s engagement in the labor market and in life-long training and limiting their productive opportunities that improve livelihoods.
Value chain development is an important strategy for supporting local economic development and job creation. It does this through strengthening enterprises and business relationships and by improving market structures and the business environment overall. One major constraint commonly overlooked in value chain development is the fact that market systems contain the same gender bias and unequal power relations as the societies in which they are embedded.
PLGP is pleased to have recently launched a Guide for Practitioners and Interested Stakeholders which supports gender-responsive approaches to value chain analysis and development and to economic growth in Albania. The Guide represents a useful resource to aid development practitioners in putting gender-sensitive value chain development approaches into practice. It explains the key concepts and steps which guide the process of effective gender-sensitive analysis and interventions and provides examples of best practices based on local experience.
Specifically, the guide will support practitioners:
• To systematically integrate gender-responsive interventions into economic development efforts through gender-sensitive value chain analysis and development;
• To establish “win-win” interventions by addressing poverty reduction and gender equality goals in conjunction with pursuing economic growth; and
• To support value chain actors in improving their understanding of the value chains they are part of. Gender-sensitive value chain analysis and development are approaches that help meet Albania’s gender equality and wider development goals by identifying value chain solutions that improve overall productivity and at the same time promote equality between women and men.