KARAT Coalition was established as a response to the invisibility of women from Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) and their concerns and needs in the international area. It was related closely to the Beijing conference on Women in 1995.

KARAT’s involvement in Beijing and EU enlargement processes shows the responses of the Coalition to the main opportunities and challenges and to the dynamic political, social and economic changes in the Region.

In its 15 years of herstory KARAT has been using different international government commitments (e.g. Platform for Action, ILO Conventions, EU gender equality directives and policies) as tools to improve the situation of women in this part of the globe.


Milestones events from KARAT herstory:



  • The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (September)

During this conference a vital need of cooperation of women from CEE/CIS to advocate jointly for specific needs of women was identified and the idea of network/coalition was born. It will later result in the creation of KARAT.



  • KARAT Coalition was established (Warsaw, Poland: 1st February)

The creation of the KARAT Coalition took place in Warsaw during the working meeting which gathered women’s NGOs from 11 countries of the Region (Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine). The objective was to monitor the responses of the CEE/CIS governments to their international commitments, especially those made at the Beijing Conference.


  • Building coalition and its capacity on international lobbying (Bratislava, Slovakia, June)

The first KARAT’s  internal regional meeting devoted to international networking and lobbying.

  • Preparatory meeting for the 43rd session of CSW (Prague, Czech Republic, October)

The regional action to monitor implementation of the Platform for Action in the area of institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women in CEE/CIS was elaborated.



  • 43rd session of CSW (New York, March)

The first UN event attended by representatives of women’s NGOs united as members of KARAT Coalition. Presentation of the first jointly done regional report on institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women.

  • Preparatory meeting for Beijing+5 (Bucharest, Romania, May)

The regional involvement in the Beijing+5 was agreed upon. The burning issue for women in the Region – Balkan women in the armed conflict – was stated as a regional priority to be presented at the UN level.

See the details HERE

  • Workshop on Gender Impacts on Economic Transition and Globalization – focus on the Word Bank (Sofia, Bulgaria, October)

Building capacity on lobbying the World Bank’s policy in CEE/CIS.

  • Conference on Women and Peace Building (Budapest, Hungary, November)

This conference was a follow-up of KARAT meeting in Bucharest. KARAT’s regional recommendations for Beijing +5 review process regarding women in the armed conflicts were developed by women from Balkans and strongly supported by women from the Region.


  • BEIJING+5:

• ECE Regional Preparatory Meeting for Beijing+5 (Geneva, January)

• 44th session of CSW (New York, March)

• UN General Assembly Special Session (New York, June). See the The political statement of NGOs Caucus from Central & Eastern Europe and CIS

• Members of KARAT’s representations strongly articulated women’s voice from CEE/CIS at the UN Beijing+5 meetings. KARAT contributed considerably to the statement from NGOs of CEE and CIS „Distinguishing countries in transitionwhich was included in the official UN outcome document from the Beijing+5. The process of Beijing+5 enabled KARAT and its members to become visible actors advocating at the international and national levels. It also contributed to indentifying the main areas of concern of CEE/CIS women, including gender and economy. Later this led to the inclusion of economy as a main thematic area of KARAT.

KARAT’s strategic meeting (Ohrid, Macedonia, September/October)

KARAT developed its strategy, its internal structure and main directions for the programmes after Beijing+5. The meeting clearly identified the most important political processes that would impact women’s situation in CEE – the European Union enlargement. Later it resulted in KARAT’s active engagement in this process.


  • 1st General Assembly (St. Petersburg, Russia, July)

This meeting was a culmination of the extensive process of development of KARAT’s structure by adopting the Statute and conducting the first elections to the Board – the main decision- making body.

  • Official registration of KARAT (Warsaw, Poland, October)

After four years acting as an informal network KARAT was officially registered as an international organization with its Secretariat in Warsaw.



  • Gender and economic justice in European accession & Economic literacy workshop (Konstancin, Poland, April)

KARAT introduced two new main programmes: assessing the impact of EU enlargement process on women in the CEE/CIS region as a whole, and gendered economic and social justice, and labour market issues.


  • Conference on women in labour market and the EU accession process (Warsaw, Poland, November)

KARAT launched 4 national reports (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland) on Gender Assessment of the Impact of EU Accession on the Status of Women in the Labour Market in CEE . KARAT established its position as an organization specialized in women in the labour market.

  • 2nd General Assembly (Warsaw, Poland, November)

Amendments to the Statute. Assessing a crisis of KARAT’s financial sustainability.



  • Regional economic literacy training (Warsaw, Poland, January/February)

KARAT, in close cooperation with WIDE,  introduced an economic literacy programme to build capacity of its member organizations on economy from gender perspective. Later, it resulted in producing an Economic literacy kit for CEE/CIS and conducting five trainings at national level in: Bulgaria, Serbia, Poland, Georgia and Romania.

  • KARAT’s strategic meeting (Warsaw, Poland, October)

KARAT’s brainstorming on dramatic financial situation of gender NGOs related to the fast withdraw of  donors from EU accession countries. This led to KARAT’s fundraising strategy being oriented towards EU.

  • BEIJING +10:

• Strategic meeting for Beijing +10 for CEE/CIS (Warsaw, Poland, October). KARAT with other CEE/CIS networks strategized for regional involvement in Beijing+10 process.

• ECE Regional Preparatory Meeting for Beijing+10 (Geneva, December)



  • Seminar: Labour market and entrepreneurship (Warsaw, February)

Meeting of national gender focal points of the European Commission project. Critical approach to the women’s entrepreneurship with contribution of KARAT members from Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

  • 49th session of CSW (New York, March)

KARAT and Stability Pact Gender Task Force (Southern Eastern European women’s network) presented a joint position paper on gender equality and social and economic justice in CEE/CIS where they raised a concern about a new dividing line in Europe caused by EU enlargement and its impact on women.


  • KARAT hosts WIDE Annual Conference (Warsaw, Poland, June)

Conference on state and market from the perspective of women from East, West and South strengthened significantly a cooperation between KARAT and WIDE (Women in Development Europe), as well as ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ women aiming at building European networking/movement.


  • Seminar: EU neighborhood policy and gender (Warsaw, Poland)

KARAT introduced a development programme by building capacity and advocacy of its members from Eastern European neighboring countries (Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) on EU external policy and gender equality standards. This program also aimed at strengthening cooperation with member organizations from eastern neighbouring countries as well as a cooperation between them and European Union NGOs/networks. This strengthened KARAT’s commitment in the field of development policy.


  • Re-activating Women’s Rights Program

KARAT strengthened its involvement in promotion of UN women’s rights standards through starting of new initiatives related to CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) and Optional Protocol to CEDAW. What is important about CEDAW is its relevance to women in the entire Region and hence the possibility of engaging all the members of KARAT in activities related to it. Karat believes that activities aimed at the improvement of implementation of CEDAW in the Region should be intensified.


  • KARAT’s Programme for the years 2009 – 2012

KARAT developed its Programme for the years 2009 – 2012 which defines in one detailed document KARAT’s comprehensive long- term strategy.


  • 3rd KARAT’s General Assembly

The first since 2003 KARAT’s General Assembly took place in Bucharest, Romania. During these past 7 years KARAT has become a well-established, accomplished and larger organisation in terms of membership, number of projects and programs as well as the budget. The GE was a great opportunity for a large number of members to meet face to face and to discuss even closer cooperation. The  members emphasised that despite 20 years of political and economic transformations and a number of very significant geo-political changes in the Region there is a great need for the existence of dynamic regional platform like KARAT Coalition.

See the Report on KARAT General Assembly 2010

The list of participants at the 3rd GA is available HERE

The agenda of the 3rd GA is available HERE



  • 56th session of CSW (New York, U.S.)

The representatives of KARAT took an active part in CSW events. KARAT organized a panel discussion on tradition as a barrier to rural women’s access to justice in cooperation with its parters from Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was also a part, among others,  of WIDE PLUS group including KULU (Denmark), WIDE Austria, and WO=MEN, the Dutch Gender Platformat to share information about main challenges, strategic events to attend and entry points for advocacy and lobbying, including for the progressive shape of the agreed conclusions.