Café for women, between local discourse and gender factorization
It is not a place where they serve only coffee, but much more than that. Currently, we are organizing English courses for children
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The café for women in the village of Kamenjane, municipality Bogovinje, the only of its kind in Macedonia, has sparked curiosity among social strata. Housewives, the public, artists and politicians speak a lot about it. And on social networks there are hundreds of comments with humorous content, where women have taken the role of men gambling in their cafes.
But who is behind this idea? The idea of opening a café, or rather a club only for women, was born in the Sinani family of the village Kamenjane. For Inbox 7 they said that the idea for something like this came spontaneously, because it should have happened much earlier as there was a need for it.
“In our home we had a girl from the U.S. troops. While sitting at home one evening, there was power failure and we had nothing to do”. At that moment we thought how good it would be to have a local bistro for women only, where we could have fun”, says Medina Sinani, owner of the place.
She adds that this idea was later discussed in their company, and everyone supported it. “This idea was in the beginning supported by the municipality Bogovinje, and later we applied for USAID donation and they decided to support the project”.
Substantial debate and sexual freedom
Bardhyl Zaimi, publicist, says that “there is nothing negative of these clubs, however, this does not look like an idea that is in function of factorization of women in society”.
“I think it would be better to fund projects for substantial debates on the need for the role of women in society and gender equality”, pointed out Zaimi for Inbox 7.
Ngadhnjim Mehmeti, artist, thinks that contribution to improving the position of women in society can occur in some other important areas, too.
“We are facing a dire condition of hospital centers, lack of diagnostic centers for malignant diseases, institutes and various counseling offices for mothers, lack of kindergartens and children’s parks, qualitative rather than quantitative education”, says Memeti for Inbox7.
What actually happens in this café which is at the entrance of the village near the former building of the Municipality?
“It is not just a place where we serve coffee, but more than that”, says Sinani. According to her, the club plans to organize a series of activities that will help women in their emancipation.
“Here they find a place for relaxation, but also for communication with friends and colleagues”, she says. The café looks like any other cafe with tables and chairs and a bar that offers a variety of drinks and fast food. In one corner of the café there are toys for children, or children’s corner, where mothers have the opportunity to relax while their children play with different toys offered by the café.
Language courses, exhibitions and emancipation
“Except as a place for relaxation, in this club we want to offer some courses that will help women in their emancipation”, says Medina Sinani.
“Currently, we are organizing English courses for children with volunteers from U.S. troops”, adding that “in the future, similar courses will be offered to women who want to learn English language and who have not been able to do it so far”, says Sinani.
In one corner of the café there is a place where a few artifacts are displayed, hand embroidered traditional clothing and other pieces for tables.
The Owner Sinani says that these works are brought by the women of the region who want to exhibit their handicrafts. “This way they can find customers and sell their work”, she noted.
“Soon we are planning to organize an exhibition of artifacts from the region. Then they will be able to sell and this will be an opportunity for self-employment of women”, adds Sinani.
Lulzime Osmani, citizen of Tetovo, fully supports the idea of a café just for women because, according to her, it says a lot.
“I think that with the opening of the café many taboos that were part of our society have been broken”.
“Women have finally showed that they are able to act alone and without the aid of men”, says Osmani. According to Osmani, the idea should be spread over at places where society is dominated by conservative views, and it will also help emancipation of women.
In the café for women we accidentally saw two ladies in traditional clothes sitting beside the café and refreshing with lemonade. They support this idea and had a positive attitude to it.
“We come from the village Jelovjane and transport to the city or here is not really regular. But we were forced to wait for hours for a vehicle, because we could not sit in cafes for men, but now it is much easier. We come here and wait in the company of women”, concluded one of the women.
For how necessary a café just for women is, Zaimi thinks this way further reinforces the stereotype of women and it does not stimulate freedom of quality emancipation.
Transformation and empowering women in developing countries seems one of the main factors for democratization of post-communist societies, raising and enhancing the status of women in this way.
Rural and underdeveloped areas constitute a test for governments, NGOs and civil society to develop respect and gender equality. The café for women was opened on June 1, 2014, in the presence of local officials, politicians and guests from international organizations.
Editor: Selim Ibraimi