The last two decades Albania has undergone tremendous changes after ending a 40 years of self isolation under a communist regime and opening its gates to the global economy. This process has been long and slow and is still under way. During the communist rule the percentage of women in politics has been high but not substantive since women didn’t have real power and were not in position of decision-making. After the collapse of communism the state was facing a crisis of moral values, anarchy, missing the rule of law and corruption of both public administration and justice authorities. Women were pushed aside the political scene, the challenges were others and women were once again voiceless. After the first democratic elections in the 1990’s the economic situation deteriorated and many people fled the county, some tricked into human trafficking in search of work and a better life. However, economic situation has improved since the 1990’s. The Albanian Diaspora has demonstrated a significant role in this issue. The money that they send back home goes towards building homes and looking after other family members. On the other hand, they are wary of setting up businesses at home where there are still many challenges ahead. Country’s poor infrastructure, unreliable energy supplies and contradictory rights upon land create problems to a functional market economy. Women participation in public life has increased gradually since more women receive higher education and look for a balance between their career and their family life. It is a real struggle for women in big cities and it is even more difficult for women in remote rural areas who due to prejudices cannot get a better education. Their only path is to get married in an early age and create a family depended to the backbone of the traditional Albanian society, the men as in many other societies. Usually those women are vulnerable and their opportunities of further education and a job are limited.
Albania that has had the lowest percentage of women in politics (the lowest in Europe) adopted the quota of 30%. Only with the last elections in 2009 did the women come in the scene again. I know it is just a number that was not reached but is a good start for those women to raise their voice and strengthen their role to the society.
From my part I want to do the same, raising my voice to gather support for more action and sharing my concerns with other women there. Staying abreast of critical issues both nationally and internationally, participating in forums like World Pulse and enriching my knowledge drawing on the experiences of peers from around the world.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.