Launch of the “Not only 8 March” sensitizing prototype against Gender based and domestic violence

Mar 8, 2016

Speech by Mr. Brian J. Williams
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative

I am very pleased to be here with you today to commemorate International Women’s Day. On every 8th of March since 1975, thousands of events have been organized on International Women’s Day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women all over the world.  It is an annual celebration – but also opportunity to remind ourselves what we need to do the other 364 days every year.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action signed by 189 governments of the world, including Albania, remains the world’s blueprint for achieving gender equality.  Since the signing in 1995, in Albania we can see both progress and challenges towards the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights.  
More women have been elected in Parliament and municipal councils, for example, and there are more women in central and local public executive bodies –
o    About 21% of parliamentarians are women, up from about 7% in 2005;
o    38% of the Cabinet of Ministers are women;
o    Women occupy nearly a quarter (24,3%) of senior management positions in public administration;
o    Over 1/3rd  (35%) of seats in local municipal councils in 2015 as compared to around 12% in 2011.

But challenges remain:
Despite of the positive fact that there is a high ratio of female graduates of 66% compared with 34% of male graduates in 2014, still their potential is not fully used.  

o    Women are still insufficiently supported and encouraged to work – only about 51% of women compared to 72% of men in 2014 were participating in the workforce;

o    Women generally earn less than men – at least 10% less -- and in general the situation is worse in rural areas.
o    Women carry a disproportionate burden of unpaid care work which deprives them of time for valuable pursuits like earning money, gaining new skills, and participating in public life.

o    And, while more laws exist to protect women from violence, gender-based and domestic violence continue to occur all over the country – 60% of women have experienced violence at some point in their lives.

During the campaign of 16 days of activism against violence against women, undertaken in 2015, many Albanian towns dressed in orange; boys and men and girls and women shoulder-to-shoulder and advocated for healthier partnerships, in respect of each-other’s rights and human worth.  We were all enthused to see young men pledge to, ‘never commit, condone, or remain silent about men’s violence against women in all its forms.’ The He for She campaign embraced the whole country.

At the culmination of the 16-day campaign, on the 10th of December, the Minister of Social Welfare presided over the selection of a group of young women and men who developed an innovative awareness-raising approach, which we will learn more about during this morning’s video.  It is a call to put an end to violence against girls and women: domestic abuse is never acceptable, should never be ignored and must never be excused.

Young women and men of Albania, you deserve the admiration of your families, your communities and your government, as you prepare to join the ranks of social workers, psychologists and sociologists committed to enhancing the well-being of your fellow citizens.  

And though it may not always feel that way, as you pursue your careers, you will find yourselves at moments in a critical position, a position where you will have great influence with a colleague, a patient, or a policy.  You must seize those moments, and demonstrate through your action that you are part of a collective movement, a global movement, one that aims to build societies of equal opportunity, and societies free of violence and physical threat.  

Ladies and gentlemen,

Building such movements requires the commitment of many partners, from government and civil society and from students and universities across the country – thank you for your commitment to women’s rights.  

A very special thanks go to the Government of Sweden that has continuously supported the work of UN everywhere and in particular for upholding women’s empowerment, gender equality principles, non-discrimination and elimination of domestic violence everywhere in Albania and for the generous financial contributions to this field.

Thank you and Happy 8th of March!


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