Women in Defence System – North Macedonia – 2022

National Action Plan 1325:

North Macedonia is currently in the phase of implementing its second action plan 1325 on women, peace and security for the period 2020-2025.¹ The adoption of the second action plan coincided with the country’s NATO membership and the 20th anniversary of the Resolution 1325. North Macedonia’s new plan is forward-looking and focused on leadership in government institutions and the civil sector, unlike the first action plan for the period 2013- 2015, which focused more on participation and contribution of women in international, civilian and military missions, including conflict prevention. In the previous period, key challenges for the implementation of NAP 1325 were related to the political context and the conservative forces in the government which obstructed the implementation of gender-related policies. On the structural level, the challenges were related to budgetary concerns and the weaknesses of the monitoring and reporting mechanisms, as well as to the relatively limited capacity of state institutions in terms of gender sensitivity, knowledge and resources.2 Lack of disaggregated data and gender-based analyses posed an additional challenge for evaluation and monitoring.

Participation of women in the MoDs and the Armed Forces:

Equality between women and men is guaranteed by different defence-related laws, and the gender equality principle is mainstreamed in the latest Defence Strategy (2021).3 Moreover, there are no restrictions for women in the military. According to the Ministry of Defence, women currently (2022) make up 34% of its employees and 10% of the armed forces, which is a slight increase compared to 2019.4 When it comes to the share of women among officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and soldiers, North Macedonia has a relatively high percentage of females in the ranks of officers and NCOs – 14% of the officers, 11% of the NCOs and 5% of the soldiers.5 Although the percentage of women in operational jobs has increased, women generally still work in civilian posts in the defence system.

Representation of women in command and leadership positions:

North Macedonia is an example of good practice because some of the senior leadership positions are held by women. North Macedonia is one of the three countries in the region that have appointed women as defence ministers. UNDP SEESAC data show that in 2019, the share of women in leadership positions held by uniformed personnel in the Armed Forces was 16%, while 47% of women among non-uniformed personnel held managerial positions in the MoD.6

Participation of women in peacekeeping operations:

According to the 2021 UNDP SEESAC report, North Macedonia deployed 8% of uniformed women to peacekeeping operations in 2019. Since the presented share of women in peacekeeping operations is based only on a one-year situation overview, it should be borne in mind that annual fluctuations can be significant.7

      1. SECOND NATIONAL ACTION PLAN of the Republic of North Macedonia for the Implementation of United Nations
        Security Council Resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security 2020 – 2025, https://www.globalwps.org/data/MKD/files/2020-2025.pdf
      2. Gorana Odanović (ed.), Women, Peace and Security in the Western Balkans, Belgrade Centre for Security Policy,
        2013, https://unescowomen.uom.gr/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/WOMEN-PEACE-AND-SECURITY_Independent-review-of-translation-of-UNSCR-1325.pdf
      3. Ministry of Defence, Defence Strategy of the Republic of North Macedonia, MoD, 2021, https://www.mod.gov.mk/
      4. United Nations in Serbia, The Position of Women in the Armed Forces in the Western Balkans, UNDP SEESAC, 23
        December 2021, https://serbia.un.org/en/166414-position-women-armed-forces-western-balkans
      5. Ibid, p. 24
      6. Ibid, p. 28
      7. Ibid, page 27.

2022 – Balkan Defence Monitor
Women In Defence System – North Macedonia

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