books about gender in economics
Textbooks were donated to the School of Economics at the inaugural event

Understanding economics through a gender lens

Kosovo’s University of Prishtina launches a new Gender and Economics course for students attending its prestigious School of Economics

26. Mar 2020

In celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day, the University of Prishtina officially launched the very first Gender and Economics Bachelor- and Masters-level course of its kind in the western Balkans. Sweden’s Ambassador to Kosovo, Karin Hernmarck Ahliny, and Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, joined the Dean of the School of Economics, over 100 students and faculty, and staff from the Agency for Gender Equality (AGE) at the inaugural ceremony earlier this month.

Following a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the university at the end of 2019, AGE moved forward with efforts to make the course a reality. With the support of a four-year Sida-funded project to strengthen its institutional capacity, AGE has been closely cooperating with academia to introduce gender inclusivity into tertiary education in Kosovo.

The Gender and Economics course will be taught as part of the School of Economics’ regular curriculum for BA and MA students. In addition to donating textbooks and course material, the “Institutional Strengthening of AGE and Gender Mechanisms” project assisted in the design of the syllabus and teacher training. A one-day seminar was also offered to students and faculty on teaching gender in economic fields and on how to mainstream gender in regular academic programing. In addition, the project facilitated a direct partnership between the School of Economics and the Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. A one-week study visit for the University of Prishtina teaching team and staff from AGE to the Dutch Institute was organized to share best practice and learning experiences.

According to project team leader, Blerinda Idrizi, the Sida project’s support of the Gender and Economics course centres on a few ideas. She explains, “First, future public administration civil servants and experts are formally trained at tertiary education institutions, like the University of Prishtina, and such venues are thus where socio-economic policies are taught, shaped and examined. Second, it is a well-known and widely accepted fact that curricula and supporting textbooks are a powerful tool for combating gender stereotypes and bias and thus contribute to the promotion and fostering of modern norms and values that instill and reinforce gender equality principles. Thirdly, the advancement of women's rights, gender equality, and women's empowerment requires informed social and economic policy analysis. Subsequently, it makes the most sense to take action in tertiary education where minds are shaped and hearts won.”

The higher-level Gender and Economics course is only one recent example of a series of initiatives delivered through the “Institutional Strengthening of AGE and Gender Mechanisms” project, which NIRAS has been implementing since July 2016. Other successes include the drafting of a new national programme for gender equality – a landmark policy document for the promotion of gender equality and closing of inequality gaps between men and women in Kosovo – and the introduction of a gender equality impact assessment of government regulations. To learn about these and other project results, click here.