Albania Marks International Women’s Day in a Week Packed with Diverse Events
From photo exhibitions and festivals to student discussions and private sector commitments, UN Women, in collaboration with local government and development partners, organized a series of topical events to commemorate International Women’s Day, in the week of 3-11 March.
I have a dream...
A photographic project that gives voice to the dreams of young women from all over Albania was exhibited in Tirana on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Renowned photographer Jutta Benzenberg partnered with UN Women in Albania to bring to attention the reality of young women who live in remote parts of the country where gender stereotypes and patriarchal norms are still dominant.
The photographer captured snapshots of teenage girls as they went about their daily lives in their immediate surroundings and she also asked them about their dreams for their future. These dreams were later put together in a compilation and displayed alongside their portraits in an exhibition at the Center for Openness and Dialogue – an art space at the Prime Minister’s offices in Tirana.
Major Companies in Albania Sign the Women’s Empowerment Principles
On International Women’s Day, the BALFIN Group and ONE Telecommunications signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles committing to empower women in the workplace and in the community.
During the meeting held on the occasion, Edlira Muka, CEO of BALFIN Group, stated that the BALFIN Group is creating a work environment where all individuals can express the best of their abilities, by encouraging women’s empowerment across the organization and taking care that their contribution is duly recognized.
The UN Women Representative to Albania, Michele Ribotta, was pleased to hear that Women’s Empowerment Principles are an integral part of values of the BALFIN Group and that they are applied in its everyday work. He specifically noted the gender quota and women’s positions in the hierarchy of the BALFIN Group, which can act as a leader in driving such efforts and as a model for others in the private sector to join and promote the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
During the signing of WEPs, ONE Telecommunications, one of the main mobile companies in Albania, announced that the company is supporting women survivors of violence by donating telephones with call and text packages enabling them to access to reporting lines and support services.
"Nowadays it is essential to have a phone and the opportunity to connect with the world beyond where you live. We believe that such an opportunity will open communication windows for those groups of women who are economically and socially isolated, opening up many opportunities,” said Ornela Bego, Director of Corporate Relations at ONE.
UN Women Representative in Albania, Michele Ribotta congratulated ONE Telecommunications “for joining the Albanian family of signatories of the Women’s Empowerment Principles,” wishing this collaboration to further contribute to the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights in Albania.
So far, eighteen 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).
Women from disadvantaged communities just one click away from legal and psychological counselling
Seventy women from disadvantaged groups in Albania were provided with smartphones and internet packages aimed at reporting violence and accessing services. The smartphones were distributed during a public event with activists, government officials, Vodafone Albania, and international partners.
The smartphones equipped with BrightSky - a dedicated mobile application for reporting violence, were supported by Vodafone Albania Foundation and the UN Women-EU regional programme on ending violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The use of these devices aims to enhance tech literacy among women with disabilities, Roma, and Egyptian women, and LGBTI persons.
The Media Forum
Albania kickstarted celebrations for International Women’s Day with a Media Forum on gender responsive budgeting. UN Women Representative in Albania, Michele Ribotta, and UN Women project managers discussed with Albanian journalists the main issues addressed by the civil society in the CEDAW Report; the 2022 public budget and gender allocations; and the current involvement of women and young girls in local budgeting priorities.
UN Women partner organizations such as Human Rights in Democracy Centre, Center for Legal Civic Initiatives and Today for the Future presented the results and impact of their recent projects on the life of women and girls. The meeting was held with the support of the Government of Sweden and the Swedish International Development Agency.
The Albanian Post Office and UN Women Celebrate Veteran Women Employees
On International Women’s Day, UN Women and the Albanian Post Office organized a joint event to celebrate the work and contribution of women employees of the Post Office. Two out of three employees at the Albanian Post Office are women. In his speech, UN Women Representative, Michele Ribotta highlighted that “Gender Equality and Women’s Rights are everybody’s business – every individual’s, and every institution’s business. Swedish Ambassador in Albania, Elsa Håstad, noted, “It will never rain rights, if we don’t demand rights.”
Open Lecture on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights
UN Women Representative, Michele Ribotta, attended an open lecture with Master’s students at the Institute for European Studies in Tirana.
Mr. Ribotta noted how "over the years, Albania has greatly benefited from aligning its laws and policies with international human rights standards and the Sustainable Development Goals.” Students were interested to learn about the most pressing issues regarding gender equality in Albania which require further awareness-raising and concrete actions by institutions and the society.
UN Women Albania, in partnership with Anabel Media, organized a mock dating show called “Fair Game” where a group of young Albanian women and men were asked about their requirements from their future partners. Their answers were put on boxes and placed behind a couple at the altar – visibly demonstrating the “luggage” women and men carry into relationships. The social experiment aimed to examine and understand the traditional gender roles and stereotypes associated with dating and choosing a long-term partner.
The video was supported by the UN Joint Programme on Ending Violence against Women and Girls in Albania and financed by the Government of Sweden.
FEMFEST, the First Festival on Women’s Rights in Albania
UN Women collaborated with FemFest, the first festival on women’s rights in Albania, teaming up with numerous partners from the fields of arts and human rights. The soundtrack of the festival was supported by UN Women with funds from the Government of Sweden.