The ambitious project of Arjeta Puca supporting women’s employment in male dominated industries
When she was born 35 years ago her father cried because he wished his second child would be a boy. But throughout her life, Arjeta Puca, has proven to anyone who told her ‘You can’t do it because you are a girl’, that she can do anything. Even start and run a business in a male dominated field. Arjeta is the founder and administrator of Timak, an Albanian based company focused on production and conversion of various vehicles, such as ambulances, construction/special road vehicles, municipality equipment, highways vehicles etc.
Each and every customer who visits her manufactory finds it hard to believe that she is the founder and the brain behind Timak, and always ask for the male figure behind her success. “People always ask if I have a husband, brother or father who does the work, but I have created this starting from zero all by myself, without any support. I want to be a good example for other girls: if I did it, they can do it too. They should know that they have the potential to accomplish everything, even if they don’t have the support of a male figure.”
Love and strength
Arjeta, originally from a town in the North of Albania, lived for 25 years abroad with her family. She has graduated in computer engineering and started working in the family business in Turkiye since she was 19 years old. “After school I would always go to work at the small family business. For many years I didn’t even go on summer holidays but instead I traveled for work in different countries from China to Croatia. I wanted to grow professionally”, Arjeta recalls.
Full of experience and confidence Arjeta Puca came back to Albania five years ago and she never left. With a love for her country, she decided to put down the roots of her own company. “At first everything was risky and scary, I encountered many challenges and setbacks, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when I experienced the worst year of my life”, says Arjeta. “I did not accept failure. I was determined to succeed when everyone thought I was going bankrupt”. Now her company is among the leading machinery and superstructure companies in the country, employing from 8 to 25 employees, depending on the project, and they provide services and equipment worldwide, from Ukraine to Kili and beyond.
Arjeta’s approach is to contribute to the development of her home country and support women in male dominated industries. “I didn’t want just a for-profit company, so I operate on two main principles: contribute to my country’s development and create opportunities for women and girls to work in environments that are usually dominated by men. I want to change the mindset that only men can work with cars, machineries, or similar industries. Women can to too, it is only a matter of knowledge and experience”, Arjeta highlights. That is why Timak, approached by UN Women, was very eager to sign the Women’s Empowerment Principles committing to empower women in the workplace and in the community.
Her long-term objective is to start up other companies in profiles that are still run by or dominated by men and employ mostly women and girls. “I want people to know that working in manufacturing is not a man’s job, working in construction is not a man’s job, working in engineering is not a man’s job and so on. And I want girls to know that they can focus on more than a few fields of work, they have endless of job opportunities.”
So far, 22 companies in Albania have signed the Principles which are a primary vehicle for companies to deliver on the gender equality dimensions of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).