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Feminism is Young in Macedonia
Lenka Simerska | 2 March 2005

Eleonora Delova is a young women’s rights activist from Macedonia. Having worked with trafficked women she is highly motivated to work on changing gender roles and helping women to achieve better lives. She wants to change the society through political organizing in communities in each and every town in Macedonia.

Nora, as she likes to be called, measures her words carefully when describing the situation of Macedonian women. She started being interested in women’s right issues at quite a young age. As a student of social work she had practical experience in different organizations dealing with social problems in Macedonia. She experienced working with children without parents, displaced people, and with women victims of violence and trafficking. It was through social work that she first started thinking about the problems of women in Macedonia. At 23 she decided to volunteer at one of the women’s organizations in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. “At first I was not aware of gender and women’s issues, but than I started to read and follow discussions about it, and slowly found out how deep the problem is rooted in the society,” she says.

After a period of discovering the field, she found herself with too little space and opportunities to realize her vision in the organization with which she was volunteering. She and a colleague she decided to start a new NGO. Their goal was to help women victims of trafficking. They could not stand the government closing its eyes on the fact that there are many brothels operating throughout Macedonia. They knew that women were not working there as dancers or as waitresses, as the officials maintained. Luckily they were able to connect with a woman from the Scandinavian foundation that helps women worldwide, Kvinna till Kvinna. The foundation helped them with the start up money and they were able to make an assessment of the situation and work on prevention, education and networking with other organizations with similar goals.

Today, at the age of 28, Nora looks at the position of women in the Macedonian society from a broader perspective. She joined the team of Akcija Zdruzhenska and aims at contributing to the advancement of women on the national political level. She also took a 2-year learning course provided by the Open Society Institute Network Women’s Program on how to strategically develop women’s organizing. She is now training women’s NGOs on capacity building and strategic planning.

Nora is a tech girl as well. She is coordinating the Macedonian WITT Focal Point, using ICT training as one of her strategies to empower women.

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