Albania marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science for the first time

Date: Monday, February 12, 2018

Mikaela Minga, musicologist, President of the Republic of Albania, Ilir Meta, UN Women Representative Giuseppe Belsito (from left to right). Photo credit: UN Women Albania / Yllka Parllaku
(from left to right) Mikaela Minga, musicologist, Ilir Meta, President of the Republic of Albania, Giuseppe Belsito, UN Women Representative in Albania. Photo: UN Women Albania/Yllka Parllaku

“Albania is one of the few countries in the world where women and girls are over performing boys in science and mathematics. Albania has fantastic assets that will be the future of this country,” highlighted Giuseppe Belsito, UN Women Representative in Albania, on International Day of Women and Girls in Science at an event organized by the President of Albania.

The Network of Women in Science, university professors, women scientists and students of excellence participated in the event organized for the first time in Albania on this occasion.

"Involvement of women and girls in research and science is essential in achieving vital goals for the sustainable development of the society," said President Ilir Meta. He committed to support and honor more women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the future.

Livia Zefi, an engineering student. Photo credit: UN Women Albania / Yllka Parllaku
Livia Zefi, an engineering student. Photo: UN Women Albania/Yllka Parllaku

In Albania, there are significant gaps in science, technology, engineering and math fields at graduate, postgraduate and doctorate levels. Girl students in Albania dominate the field of educational sciences, followed by health and welfare. However, they remain under-represented in STEM particularly because of social, cultural and gender norms.

“The aspiration to change the world drives these women forward,” said entomologist Anila Paparisto, member of Women in Science Network. Participants with a lifetime of experience and work in STEM made it clear to the young students aspiring to follow the same path that every woman and girl can succeed in these areas if they are passionate and determined.

“For me engineering is fun. I want to succeed in this field that is crucial in today’s economy and will be the word of tomorrow,” said Livia Zefi, an engineering student.

Only 5 per cent of girls have a degree in engineering in Albania. More than 71 per cent of students that graduated in the field of natural sciences and mathematics were girls.