Pristina Principles

Partnership for Change
Empowering Women
Pristina, Kosovo
October 4-6, 2012



We, participants of Partnership for Change – Empowering Women, an international summit hosted by the President of the Republic of Kosovo, representing diverse sectors, countries, ethnicities, ages, cultures and traditions, have gathered in Pristina to discuss strategies and best practices to advance women’s security and justice, economic empowerment and political representation. Reflecting the aspirations of women from our respective countries, and in solidarity with women worldwide, especially those presently in conflict zones, we affirm the principles and recommendations below.

–Recalling the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948); the European Convention on Human Rights (1950); the Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (1979); the U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (1993); the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995); the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (2000), and related Resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010); the Beijing Plus 15 review of implementation of the Platform for Action (2010); and other international conventions on humanitarian, civilian and refugee protection, criminal law, and anti-corruption;

–Affirming the fundamental equality of women and men in all human endeavor and the inalienable rights of all women to life, liberty, and security of person;

–Recognizing, as women comprise more than 50 percent of the world’s population and offer unique and diverse experiences, our full and shared commitment as leaders to empower all women in economic, political, and social fields as active members of society;

–Building on experiences from the region but relevant to emerging democracies and partners working in these areas; and

–Convinced that women’s leadership of governmental, political, and civil society institutions leads to the betterment of family and society and enhanced global peace and security;


We therefore affirm that:

  • Barriers of all kinds—political, social, electoral, economic, legal, and cultural – to women’s full participation in society need to be removed so that women’s inalienable rights are secured;
  • Opportunities of all kinds—economic, political, social and cultural—need to be increased and sustained such that women can realize their individual aspirations and, with men, attain gender equality. Full and equal access to education by girls and young women is a pre-requisite for all other opportunities;
  • Women’s economic empowerment leads to overall economic growth and universal access to security, justice, resources including property, and government decision-making;
  • The economic empowerment of women ensues from women’s talents and skills, and takes hold when women have equal opportunity, including but not limited to their full legal rights and equitable access to opportunities and resources;
  • Sustained access to and participation in security and justice processes are vital. Women cannot advance economically, socially, or politically if previous atrocities are not addressed, their human rights are denied, their security compromised, or their dignity forsaken;
  • Women must have leadership roles in peacekeeping operations, conflict negotiation/resolution processes, and in post-conflict political solutions, economic reconstruction, social rehabilitation, and democratic development. The particular needs of women living in conflict/post-conflict zones must be acknowledged and answered with robust and sustained governmental action;
  • Corruption disproportionately undermines women’s empowerment by inhibiting their access to economic resources, justice and security, political participation, and governmental decision-making. Women’s leadership in anti-corruption initiatives is vital to creating and sustaining public belief that corruption can be tackled through vigorous and appropriate actions;
  • Women’s political under-representation impinges on society’s recognition of the economic, security, justice, and social problems they face, and government’s preparedness to address them authentically. In order to steer government policy and economic resources in ways that improve society overall, it is necessary that more women take part in public life; and
  • Gender mainstreaming of legislation, budgeting and policy are among critical tools for monitoring policies and programs and guaranteeing equitable opportunities and benefits for women and men.


We accordingly recommend a series of actions:

Undertake measures across all sectors

  • Unambiguous protection of constitutional provisions, rigorous implementation of gender equality andother relevant laws, and full implementation of national action plans that realize country commitmentsto international covenants using sanctions and incentives to make this more likely;
  • Collaboration and cooperation to push for women’s inclusion involving civil society, governmentofficials, political parties, and the media, business and religious communities;
  • Creation of local, regional and national networks of and for women, such as security sector associations, cross-party women’s caucuses, and business associations that enable women to support other women and mentor the future generation of leaders;
  • Extensive engagement of men as allies and partners;
  • Use of transparent processes that are broadly inclusive of underrepresented groups on the basis of age,ethnicity, geography, religion, sexual orientation, social status and disability;
  • Efforts to increase the visibility of women leaders in all sectors, including local, regional and national government, security, media and the private sector, in order to change perceptions and shift norms; and
  • Use of technology such as social media to hasten the changes called for here.


Generate women’s economic empowerment

  • Support and strengthen women’s entrepreneurship through skills development, leadership associations,greater access to higher education, and fiscal, banking, and infrastructure policies that enable women,even without collateral or savings, to start or expand businesses;
  • Enable women to compete in the marketplace by introducing public procurement, labor and social policies, and budgets that level the playing field;
  • Encourage private sector gender diversity in board leadership, management, and labor, for example by legislating gender quotas, as well as corporate environments that secure the place of women in the workplace;
  • Ensure property rights are realized by laws and/or pursue the implementation of laws to uphold the legitimate claims of women, including those involving joint ownership, inheritance and land tenure;
  • Enable women in public administration and political parties to shape and lead anti-corruption policy,initiatives and mechanisms; and
  • Design services, such as childcare and elder care, to enable women to work, and for all members of families to live with equal opportunities and prosper.


Build women’s security and increase their access to justice

  • Acknowledge that security should be seen in a wider sense, consistent with women’s perceptions and principles of human security, encompassing conflict, unemployment, environmental catastrophe,immigration, financial and economic collapse;
  • Increase the presence of women in leadership positions in peacekeeping operations, formal negotiations, peace agreement bodies, and post-conflict governance institutions. Develop sustained institutional outreach and effective response to women in conflict and post-conflict environments;
  • Reform security sector institutions to improve their gender sensitivity by increasing the ranks of women in leadership positions, instituting diversity training, and altering organizational structures to improve response to citizen security needs;
  • Prevent, prosecute and punish violence against women, ensuring an end to impunity for those who commit crimes and accountability for those insufficiently enforcing laws through, for example, performance measurement plans that track arrests and prosecutions for crimes committed against women, especially the many forms of gender-based violence, including human trafficking;
  • Support efforts to rehabilitate and reintegrate victims of war, trafficking and sexual violence, and combat their social stigmatization; and
  • Confirm that conflict, post-conflict and transitional justice processes and institutions are gender sensitive and that they acknowledge the legal status of rape victims, publicly recognize the magnitude of their experiences, compensate them for their injuries and prosecute the perpetrators.


Increase women’s political participation and representation

  • Recruit women into political parties, place women in electable positions on candidate lists, and support women in elected office;
  • Create democratic structures within political parties through by-laws, funding transparency and equity, and internal election procedures that enable women to take party leadership positions that carry authentic power;
  • Amend electoral, party and campaign laws and practice to enable women’s representation through consideration of quota provisions, party platforms that speak to issues and how they affect women, voter education that gives women informed choice, and vigorous investigation and prosecution of unlawful voter intimidation and disenfranchisement;
  • Support organizations that conduct gender-sensitive policy research to inform government, media,political parties, and civil society as they make decisions on issues that impact women’s well-being; and
  • Use special measures such as quotas to increase not only the participation of women but their role as decision-makers.


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