Association ESE


   Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women.

Equal opportunities for women and men

The concept of equal opportunities of men and women is still a problematic issue taking into account the fact that equality of women has traditionally been understood as a “right of the women to be equal to man”. Global data show still existing inequality of distribution in resources, rights and power between men and women. Women still face inequality regarding employment opportunities, getting salary, access and right to health, rights in marriage and family, etc. In almost all spheres in social living access to distribution of resources and power is given to men. Disrespect for female human rights occurs equally at the level of legal provisions as well as in the application of daily customary rules of behaviour (full respect of cusomary practices often lead to limitation of women’s’ rights).

Therefore, for more than three decades, the international community has taken serious steps towards affirmation of the issue of gender equality and has undertaken actions regarding elimination of discrimination towards women.

Key document that most comprehensively regulates rights of women and gender equality is the Convention for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The basic principles of this convention are the principle of equality, non-discrimination and the principle of responsibility of the state. The convention promotes the concept of substantive equality, that is, equality of opportunities and access to resources, but also equality in results, that is, benefits from using resources. Such understanding of the term substantive equality allowed demanding responsibility from states-parties of this Convention, not just regarding what is being done in the field of gender equality at state level, but also regarding what results the state has achieved with reference to the actual or the practical implementation of women’s’ rights.

Namely, the policy of achieving equal opportunities for men and women should allow for equal participation of men and women in all areas of social living, equal status and treatment in their rights, as well as equal benefits from achieved results. Therefore strategies for reaching substantive gender equality and dealing with constant inequalities should take into account the fact that women and men have different needs and priorities, and face different obstacles. Different needs and priorities arise from biological differences between men and women, but also from gender differences (socially constructed roles of men and women). 

Following policies and processes at international level, the Republic of Macedonia has adopted many international documents put forward by the UN, the European Union, the Council of Europe and other international institutions, containing many norms related to equal opportunities for women and men. By accepting the Convention for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, by an act of succession in 1994, the first opportunity and obligation for the state was created to transpose its provisions on women’s’ rights and gender equality into the national legislation. In addition, by ratifying the Optional Protocol to this Convention, it was allowed to submit individual applications for violation of women's human rights to the Committee assigned to monitor this Convention into the UN.

The principle of equal opportunities for men and women and the principle of non-discrimination have been established in the Constitution and in the normative acts of our state. The principles are put into operation by means of the Law on Equal Opportunities of Men and Women, as well as by the National Action Plans on Gender Equality. 


What we do...

Monitoring and protection of women's human rights

Monitoring mechanisms allow us to have an insight into the implementation of international standards regarding women's human rights, non-discrimination and gender equality at national level. In this aspect, it is significant to mention the process of producing shadow reports in reference to international documents that regulate such issues, in particular the Convention for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The monitoring regarding women’s’ rights implementation is done through comprehensive research about the status of women in our society, including reporting thereof to authorised international bodies assigned with monitoring the implementation of relevant conventions at national level.

Reporting (Shadow reports) is used as an essential tool for advocacy at national and international level due to improving the situation of women's human rights. By means of our recommendations we contribute to changes and improving legislation, policies and the status of all women in general, for the purpose of achieving equal distribution of human rights.


Sexual harassment and mobbing

Working in the field of violence against women, we are focused on getting initial information regarding mobbing and sexual harassment of women at their workplace. Therefore we have applied research activities in order to identify the number of cases, but also to identify institutional response, formal procedures in institutions in cases of mobbing and sexual harassment at the workplace.

Findings and results from research implemented are addition to past vacuum and lack of policy and practice of analysing such phenomena in our state. At the same time, drafted recommendations will contribute to defining future measures and activities to build institutional capacities, introduce protection mechanisms, as well as develop positive organisational culture regarding harassment (mobbing and sexual) at the workplace.

The activities have been carried out in cooperation with organisations, institutions and trade unions, whose mandate of working includes combating and prevention of such phenomena in our country. 


Providing assistance and support of women victims of domestic violence

Centre for legal aid assistance of victims of domestic violence

We provide equal access to justice of this category of women by providing free legal aid (advice and information) and free representation at courts through the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance to Victims of Domestic Violence.

Free legal assistance and court representation of victims of domestic violence is provided by a professional lawyer. Representation at courts is provided to victims with exceptionally unfavourable social and economic status, after prior evaluation by an expert team.

Services delivered at the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance to Victims of Domestic Violence, allow for raising the degree of legal literacy of victims of domestic violence and their active participation into the process of improving and protecting their rights.

The Centre for Legal Aid Assistance to Victims of Domestic Violence also works on documenting the cases of domestic violence for further use in the processes of representation at authorised institutions and for improving the situation in this area. For this purpose the Centre also collects data and updates at a special database of victims of domestic violence


Psychological counselling for victims of domestic violence

The psychological counselling service is the first specialised service for counselling to offer direct psycho-social support and treatment of all victims of domestic violence ready to cease the circle of violence and change the current way of living.

Within the framework of the counselling service we offer free psychological support and advice in the sense of primary psychological assistance, urgent intervention in protection from violence, psychological assistance and support in conditions of long-term exposure to violence and crisis intervention. 

The process of providing assistance and support is achieved by regular meetings at individual level by a professional psychologist (councillor therapist). The councillor leads the victim of family violence through the process of help, at the same time strengthening his/her independence in making real decisions.

Some of the work of the psychological counselling covers collection of data and updating the database linked to all individuals who have required help and support within the framework of this counselling service.


Court protection of victims of domestic violence thorugh the temporary measures for protection (Family code)

Through monitoring on the court procedures for issuing the temporary measures for protection against domestic violence, we are enabling the victims of domestic violence to be provided with adequate legal protection, full realization of their human rights, and hold the perpetrators accountable for their violent behavior.

Beside the provision of data about the proceedings of the courts/judges in the procedures for temporary measures of protection and identification of positive and negative practices in this regard, we are contributing toward raising the level of sensitiveness and awareness among judges about the nature of domestic violence and the need for advancement of the level of court protection, and moreover we are working on increasing the level of information among the victims, about the nature of the proceedings for issuing temporary measures of protection.


Legal protection of women victims of violence

Through our activities to ensure legal protection of women- women victims of violence and discrimination, i.e. victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, victims of human trafficking and violence over sexual workers, we enable them to receive the necessary protection and to exercise their legal rights.

In addition to the analysis of the legal framework and the possibilities for its improvement, indispensible part of the work in this area are activities that refer to collection of data about the work of judges/courts in civil and criminal procedures for protection of women – victims of violence. Namely, in the period from 2015-2017, the Association ESE shall be focused on the monitoring of current court cases and will make inspection of completed court cases on violence over the mentioned categories of women victims.

Apart from data collection and identification of positive and negative court practices, we also work on strengthening the capacities of judges to improved implementation of the existing legislation on protection of women from violence, as well as application of international standards in this area, in particular the standards from the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Besides the need to strengthen the capacities of judges, it would be also necessary to strengthen the capacities of citizen associations, whereby in the following period they will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge with regard to international and regional standards and mechanisms for protection of women’s rights. Having strengthened the capacities, they can contribute to ensuring a comprehensive and quality legal protection of women who are victims of violence, as well as taking joint action for strategic advocacy in cases of violence on national and international level.

We also work on increasing the extent of information provided to the victims about the nature and procedure of conducting the court proceedings for protection and we provide continuous direct support and assistance to women that encounter violence.







Fiscal Transparency

Social accountability for gender equality

Health Rights

Domestic Violence 

Legal Aid Center

Health Information Centre