How do we balance our domestic and work responsibilities?

Are you tired of double standards?

What is your role, and what role does the state play in improving the situation?

These are some of the questions that Stella’s team wants to raise among our citizens. The journey of Stella’s town hall discussions stared on the 24th of April 2018 in the the Cultural Center in Bogdanci. The team has organized the first of many Town Hall discussions dedicated to the question of gender equality in the Macedonian society and problems that women are facing during their education or career development.

Only trough constructive discussion in every community we believe that we can find a solution which can improve the role of women in the Macedonian society, as well as enable uninterrupted access to appropriate higher education. More importantly, we intend to discuss the conditions for developing women’s and girl’s careers while breaking the stereotypes and prejudices deeply infiltrated in the society, as well how to overcome the systematic barriers.

Our first two guest speakers were Bujare Abazi, engeneer for telecommunications and Dragica Gjavochanova, a mathematics professor.

The first speaker Ms. Gjavochanova, demonstrated statistical data about the gender (in)balance in the institutions of Bogdanci as well as on national level. Coming from the education sector, she pointed out that there are more women in this sector employed as teachers, professors, administration etc. Further on she provoked a discussion regarding the professions dominated by male employees and professions dominated by female employees and it emerged that the sectors dominated by women employees are somehow connected with the household. It was rather thought-provoking to see that in politics; only 18% are women including mayors, parliamentarians, ministries and political leaders. However, a glimpse of hope rose from the discussion. It was enhanced that the younger generation is somehow shifting the imbalance. As a proof, the speaker gave a practical example for a factory where most of the employees are male, but the main engineers that are newly employed are female.

The second speaker, Ms. Abazi, shared her personal story and emphasized the obstacles and failures that women face while trying to achieve a balance between the home, their education and career. She pointed out that women are more dedicated to the household than men. Regardless that the younger generations are trying to start a change and shift the standards, even today in our society it is considered shameful for men to change diapers.

The most relevant conclusion from the discussion is that education has the potential to develop more gender balanced communities. Only through a progressive educational system, children could understand gender equality and can contribute to a gender equal society.