Support from family is important to having a successful career, Kosovo women leaders say.
By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 13/09/12
Flora Brovina, a member of parliament, medical doctor and former human rights activist, is a role model to many women in Kosovo. [Reuters]
An increasing number of women in Kosovo want to pursue a career and raise a family, but balancing the two remains a challenge in what is considered to be the most conservative male-dominated society in the Balkans.
That is why Kosovo women leaders like Trade and Industry Minister Mimoza Kusari-Lila issued a call to women not to give up their career if faced with a career-family choice.
"Both can be done, it requires a lot of organisation and dedication, but it is achievable," Kusari-Lila told SETimes.
Kusari-Lila is a mother of two and is an example to other women that they, too, can join the ranks of government.
She acknowledged, however, that it is not easy to strike a balance between career and family, but credited the support of her husband and extended family in achieving her professional goals.
Many women will face trying times when trade-offs are required, she said, listing the birth of her second son as being one such time, when she had to return to work several days later.
"There will always be difficult periods and moments, but the desired result will be reached at the end," Kusari-Lila said.
Realizing one's professional dreams makes one a completed personality, a better wife and mother, according to Linda Shala, owner and manager of Kosovo company Data Project Elektronik.
"Also, the opposite is true; the family is the one which supports you, gives you the power and the will to be successful for yourself and for them," Shala told SETimes.
Shala argued the key to managing career and family is to properly organise one's time and priorities as well as to endure the will to do both.
"Establishing a business in this wild competitive environment ... is difficult for women and for men. It is more difficult for women, having in mind the traditional mentality and the perception for the role of the women in the society," Shala said.
But a group of factors impacts whether women will be successful, Shala argued, including the level of education and family readiness to support the woman both in her family affairs and in her career.
Women in Kosovo used to play a symbolic part in social developments, according to Flora Brovina, a Kosovo MP who is a mother and a grandmother, but realised their strategic role in society during the struggle for independence in the 1990s.
"Kosovo Albanian women can lead any self-organisation, be it political or social," Brovina told SETimes.
Since obtaining independence, unemployment in Kosovo is estimated to be as high as 70 percent, with women disproportionally affected.
Shala argued that husbands' support is key to women successfully pursuing careers and advocated society to work more on men's understanding.
"Emancipating the males will make us have an emancipated family, which eliminates societal barriers and the taboos that a woman can not be a successful business woman, a good wife and a devoted mother, all at the same time," Shala said.
Society should get rid of gender prejudices regarding the predetermined social roles of women, argued Margarita Kadriu, editor-in-chief of daily Kosova Sot who is a mother of two.
"Women can even be more successful than men professionally because they are much better organised and more communicative," Kadriu told SETimes.
"Just do not hesitate to move ahead, remaining in essence a positive person who does not avoid the part that makes us complete -- the family," Kadriu said.