TIRANE, 30 October 2017: Six “women silent heroes” were awarded with special recognition during the celebrations of United Nations Day in Albania. The event dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women was organized by UN in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Swedish Embassy in Albania.
Hundreds of women in Albania, in silence, contribute to build a society with equal opportunities free from violence against women and girls, where women are empowered economically and have equal access to services, where human rights are upheld and dignity of men and women is respected.
The six women who received awards have not generated headlines but they are change makers in the communities, workplace and society.
From an entrepreneur working in rural areas, to an environmentalist working to protect mother earth, from a victim of violence to a women’s rights advocate, from a diplomat to a passionate fighter of drugs and crime- these women have been truly role models in their communities. Every day they contribute to change the society around them for the better and tackle issues at the heart of the public debate.
Ditmir Bushati, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs amongst others underlined:” Respect for women's rights plays a decisive role, it is not a mere issue of numbers. The Albanian government has undertaken important legal commitments to combat discrimination and promote gender equality as women’s involvement is not a privilege to a group of society, because women and girls are not one group of society, but half of it "
Brian James Williams, United Nations Resident Coordinator says:” We are here tonight to celebrate six out of many thousands of others who are making Albania a more equal society, day by day. Role models, of all kinds, are critical. Make no mistake, empowering women – or actually any group that is marginalized – is not a simple technical act, something done at a bureaucrat’s desk, but an act of courage – often even an act of defiance. It requires standing up to say: ‘the way we have always done things around here, in fact, it’s not quite right’.
Ambassador of Sweden to Albania Johan Ndisi underlined:” "I am particularly glad that our celebrations of the UN-day highlight gender equality. Sweden has a feminist foreign policy, aiming to strengthen the rights, resources and representation of women and girls. Our cooperation with the UN is key in the work we do in Albania. Sweden is proud to support joint UN action through the Albanian Coherence Fund”
The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom, also greeted the event with a recorded video message. Amongst others she underlined “With the United Nations and other partners we will continue to work to strengthen the rights and women’s participation in Albania”.
The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted two years ago, placed gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. Women’s empowerment is a pre-condition to change the course of the key challenges of the 21st century, such as poverty, climate change and inequality.
Gender equality is at the core of UN and Government of Sweden’s work in Albania. These efforts include advocating for women’s and girls’ equal rights, combating discriminatory practices and challenging the roles and stereotypes that affect inequalities and exclusion. Gender equality, centered in human rights, is recognized both as a development goal on its own and as vital to accelerating sustainable development. Interventions focus from integration of gender considerations in legislative and policy work to expanding women’s participation in the development and implementation of inclusive and sustainable development policies and strategies.