On Int'l Women's Day, calls grow for more female leaders

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 13, 2015 10:38

TIRANA, March 8 - As Albania celebrated International Women’s Day Sunday with some ceremonies across the country, there were calls for a stronger leadership roles for women in Albania and neighboring countries.

A group of women lawmakers from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Presevo Valley gathered in Prishtina's parliament to discuss their role and how to increase the participation of women in politics and decision-making.

Albanian lawmaker Mesila Doda told a Kosovo newspaper that there need to be more women involved in politics, saying that Albania has advanced some on this issue, but the neighboring countries like Kosovo had not. She urged all political parties in Albania and Kosovo to have more women in their election lists.

"Why not," she said. "It would be good for us if a woman would become the next Mayor of Tirana."

Albania holds municipal elections on June 21, and several women have been named as potential candidates on both sides of the political spectrum for the key post of mayor of the Albanian capital, seen as a stepping stone to the prime minister's office.

OSCE Ambassador to Albania Florian Raunig urged local political parties to include more women in the Albanian politics as key to the further development of democracy.

The country’s laws require that at least 30 percent of the nominated candidates should be women. In fact that is never been accomplished or fulfilled. Parties have preferred to pay the associated fines instead. However, there are more women in the latest parliament and government than ever before.

“A substantial representation of women in decision-making is essential for any country that wants to reach its full potential. Albania has made remarkable progress particularly by increasing the number of women in government to 30 percent,” said Raunig. “However, there are still challenges ahead as women make up only about 20 percent of members of parliament, and especially in the local government where only 12 percent of local councilors and only one percent of mayors are women.”

He added that several political parties have pledged to increase the number of women candidates on their lists.

"This is laudable and is hopefully an indication that the Albanian political class is serious about dealing with the issue of gender equality in politics. It is also essential that the parties put women in positions in the candidate lists which give them a fair and realistic chance to be elected,” Raunig said.

In the run-up to the 2015 local elections, the OSCE Presence in Albania has intensified efforts to promote gender equality and empower women to fully participate in public and political life. The presence says it is building their capacity to stand as candidates in the elections and lobbying for the full implementation of the gender quota in the Electoral Code – both in letter and spirit.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 13, 2015 10:38