Albania's new government will have six women in ministerial positions, including the first female minister of defence.
By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Tirana -- 10/08/13
'I feel so good that Albania is undertaking major steps in gender quality,' Klajda Gjosha, the new designated minister of European integration, told SETimes. [Gent Shkulliku/SETimes]
Albania's new government will include six women ministers, representing a drastic change not only in the country, but also setting a positive example in the region.
"Having six women in the government is a positive step for Albania and the region towards achieving gender equality standards and the intended democracy," Blerina Metaj, a programme co-ordinator for the Coalition for the Promotion of Women and Youth in Politics in Tirana, told SETimes.
Prime Minister-designate Edi Rama said he created a team of new ministers to achieve the changes that his government will focus on, including strengthening the rule of law, curbing crime and corruption, maintaining sustainable economic development and implementing European standards.
"A team has been built with almost 90 percent of people sitting for the first time in the ministerial chair and probably with more women that all the governments of Albania have had all together in these 20 years," Rama said on July 31st.
The law on gender equality requires "the representation of at least 30 percent of both genders in any institution, management level, appointed organ, political party." The makeup of the new government, which takes office next month, also meets the requirements of international conventions.
"I feel so good that Albania is undertaking major steps in gender quality by having 30 percent of women in its government composition. I am convinced that all of us together will be a powerful voice in governance and will perform with full responsibility the works in the respective positions," Klajda Gjosha, the new designated minister of European integration, told SETimes.
Gjosha said Albania has come a long way in opening opportunities for women by rigorously fulfilling one of the main priorities of the EU in the field of gender equality. According to the EU, "gender gaps remain and in the labour market, women are still over-represented in lower paid sectors and under-represented in decision-making positions" in many of the member state countries as well.
Albania's neighbour, Kosovo, has three women in the cabinet. All 42 deputy ministers in Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's government are men, as are the mayors of Kosovo's 38 municipalities.
Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry Mimoza Kusari-Lila said political parties should strengthen women's positions and push them into leading roles.
"Our country has feminine gender stereotypes, so their involvement in leadership positions is one of the best investments we can make as a society. Kosovo society would be helped through the successful promotion of women, to remove stereotypes and to evaluate women based on their work and success and not on the basis of their gender," Kusari-Lila told SETimes.
Kosovo MP Alma Lama shared the same concern. She said that the inclusion of women in executive positions is as important as their presence in the parliament.
"Women, being present in these institutions, have the opportunity to positively affect not only issues supportive to women, but also other projects that affect the lives of citizens. The reason why there are so few women in the government positions has to do with the lack of willingness by men to share power," as well as the lack of the willingness by women to fight for higher positions, Lama told SETimes.
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