International Women’s Day

Joint Op-ed by: Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator
Silvio Gonzato, EUD Ambassador to Albani


IWD Cover

Over the past decades, women and girls around the world have demolished barriers, dismantled stereotypes and driven progress towards more just and equal societies. Women’s rights were recognised as fundamental and universal human rights. Hundreds of millions more girls are in classrooms around the world. And female leaders have smashed glass ceilings across public and private spaces. Globally, the fight for women’s rights over the past fifty years is a story of progress. But the global pandemic and recent setbacks have put progress under threat, and full equality remains light years away.

Albania has made significant achievements towards empowering women and reducing gender-based discrimination, in health and education, in the labour market, and in terms of leadership, participation and representation. In its recent review of the country, the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), recognized the overall robustness of the country’s legal and policy framework on gender equality. But it also recommended specific measures to ensure that equality in the law translates into practical substantive improvements in empowerment of women. The Committee called for strengthening women access to justice, to eliminate existing stereotypes and harmful practices, upscale efforts to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence, of trafficking and exploitation of women. It also urged Albania to protect and empower women who are victims of intersecting forms of discrimination, because of their social or economic status, their sexual orientation or gender identity, or their different physical or mental abilities

Such recommendations are fully aligned with the spirit and the objectives of the EU Gender Action Plan and with the specific recommendations the EU has addressed to Albania in the context of the accession process. Prioritizing gender equality responds to the key values of the EU, and building national capacities to address such priorities across all sectors of government will sustain the country’s path towards EU accession.

To accelerate progress on the achievement of gender targets in the Sustainable Development Goals, expanding financial investments will be critical: investing in women is not only a moral imperative, but also the smart thing to do to accelerate Albania’s economic growth.

On this International Women’s Day, both the UN and the EU stand in solidarity with all women in Albania. Our vision for a gender equal Albania is clear. As we celebrate the power and potential of all women, we call on institutions, civil society, businesses, and citizens - together - to support this cause.

To view the Albanian version, click here.