A developed and progressive country needs both genders to play an active part in economy and politics. No society can be strong if half of the population is left out. Why should one gender be underrepresented? That would be like having two hands, but only working with one.
With this metaphor at the center of her speech, H.E. Mrs. Teuta Sahatqija, Ambassador of Kosovo, illustrated her country’s efforts toward empowerment of women and the economic impact this has on the nascent Republic that declared independence in 2008.
For example, Kosovo has a 30 per cent quota for women in parliamentary representation, which is showing great results, as Mrs. Sahatqija explained proudly. She shared her memories of having fought for this quota, stating that men felt as if seats were taken away from them. However, Mrs. Sahatqija argued that the unequal amount of seats occupied by men were never theirs in the first place. Nature already gives a perfect balance of 50/50 – where did those men get the idea that the natural balance is, let’s say, 90/10?
Moreover, Kosovo highly values the importance of teaching girls coding. The country has a very strong younger generation of IT experts and actively seeks to include girls in training future IT professionals. Besides this, Mrs. Sahatquija showed students that Kosovo has a law on inheritance that strengthens women’s standing. She also talked about a scheme of grants and loans for women entrepreneurs. All these examples provided by the ambassador are meant to, and indeed do, empower women to play a significant role in the reconstruction in Kosovo.
Students and faculty attending this special event were moved by the belief in progress and gender equality and the commitment Mrs. Sahatqija transmitted to her audience through sharing personal anecdotes. The ambassador is a well-known activist for women economic and political empowerment; throughout her life, she personally asserted herself in the field of IT and in politics, both being typically dominated by men. Mrs. Sahatqija concluded with an inspiring and empowering key message to every individual student:
Whatever you want to do with your life, aim high, fight for your right. Sometimes the way will be long and frustrating, but falls will make you stronger. Life isn’t fair, but who said it was?