Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lisa Koch

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This thesis examines the role of civic organizations to advance women’s rights in Kosovo after the conflict in the late 1990s. Following the Kosovo-Serbia War, Western state building missions came into Kosovo to support Kosovo’s independence and help guide them on a path toward developed statehood. However, those missions brought with them patriarchal leaders who marginalized women’s voices and neglected to enshrine women’s rights. As a result, local actorsand organizations stepped up to improve the lives of Kosovar women. Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN), and their member organizations, is one of the most successful civic actors in Kosovo, working locally and nationally to help women. I begin by describing a brief history of Kosovo, the conflict in the 1990s, and the pivotal role of women during the independence movement. Next, I discuss the shortcomings of Western state building missions to advance women’s rights, and the response of women’s activists. Finally, I finish by spotlighting the pivotal work of KWN and their member organizations. After years or marginalization, civic organizations and women’s activists in Kosovo deserve to be highlighted for the work they have done to improve the lives of women across Kosovo.