Art and technology unite partners in Albania on International Women’s Day
From 6 to 10 March, UN Women in Albania organized a week-long celebration of International Women’s Day. The events were organized in collaboration with private sector partners, civil society organizations, international partners, youth, and artists.
Art expressing what words cannot
One of the highlights of the week was Fem Fest, a feminist festival organized by the Union of Albanian Artists where women’s rights activists and artists make their voices heard as they address gender inequalities and the different forms of discrimination faced by women in various spaces. UN Women supported various festival activities such as plays, public debates, and artistic performances. The "Red Shoes" installation was displayed in Mother Teresa Square, in honor of women killed by domestic and gender-related violence. This art installation created by the Mexican artist Elina Chauvet has been reproduced all over the world. The Union of Albanian Artists curated the installation in Tirana, with the support of the Embassy of Sweden in Tirana, UN Women, and UNDP Albania. The installation will remain on display in the main square of the capital for six months.
Another noteworthy activity was a performing art piece called 'Baby Blues' by Haveit, a group of young women artists who use their performances to tackle gender and social issues. They portrayed the journey of new mothers struggling with their unknown selves.
A public event about the pervasive issue of sexism in politics brought together women politicians, activists, and ambassadors to share their personal experiences and advocate for greater support and opportunities for women and girls in politics.
Private sector advocates
Credins Bank signed the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) on International Women’s Day. The Bank joined a network of 44 signatory companies in Albania committed to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community.
UN Women Representative in Albania, Michele Ribotta, pointed out that "Promoting gender equality isn't just a matter of social responsibility in internal business practices. Supporting women economic empowerment through access to financing and productive assets contributes directly to Albania’s economic wealth.”
Credins Bank General Director, Maltin Korkuti, noted: "We have always been promoters of women's empowerment – by granting them financial packages, specific bonuses and several trainings, we create the right environment for their integration".
UN Women also teamed up with the Balfin Group and Deloitte Albania, both signatories of the Women Empowerment Principles, to organize two different events under the global theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” Employees and representatives of these companies gathered to discuss how technology is transforming society and how it can bring advances for women and girls. Representatives from Easypay and Vodafone Albania Foundation, also WEPs signatories, shared their experiences about challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and the use of technology to tackle domestic violence.
In Albania, socio-cultural gender stereotypes keep limiting girls’ employment opportunities to areas such as teaching, nursing, or social work. While two thirds of students in higher education are girls, only four per cent of them pursue ICT-related studies.
On the other hand, the male-dominated tech workplace culture is a key barrier to more women getting into, or remaining and advancing in tech jobs. According to national data, while a large portion of graduates from ICT- and STEM-related fields are women, only half of them make it to a managerial position.
On International Women’s Day and every day, UN Women encourages women and girls to pursue studies in science and technology-related subject areas and calls on everyone to remove any barriers that prevent women and girls accessing the digital world.