Ambassador Soreca's speech at the "Public meeting on the Role of Women and Community Engagement in the European Integration Process"
Public meeting on the Role of Women and Community Engagement in the European Integration Process
Patos, 26 November 2018
Dear Deputy Minister Kuko, dear Mayor Balilaj,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am really glad to be here today in this event dedicated to such an important matter: the 'Role of women and community engagement in the European Integration Process'.
I wish to congratulate the municipality of Patos and the EU-funded project 'Municipalities for Europe' for co-organising today's programme.
First of all - let me be very clear: Integration of Albania in the European Union comes from all of you as citizens, women and men/girls and boys of this country!
Secondly - Gender Equality and empowerment of women and girls are fundamental human rights.
Third - Gender equality is also an essential precondition for equitable and inclusive sustainable development, which will not take place if half of the population in Albania is left behind.
Women empowerment is strongly related with their activism in politics (be at local or central level). Albania has achieved some positive developments in the political participation such as:
- 50% of the Ministers are women,
- 50% of deputy ministers are women,
- 28.5 % of members of the parliament are women
- However, only 10 women mayors..
Overall, it means that today there are more women in the executive and legislative arena, who will decide for important laws and through taking part in the decision making process will influence citizens' life!
The European Union firmly supports empowerment of women in Albania and works towards ensuring that voice is given and participation takes place from women and girls in the social, economic and political life.
As I have already mentioned, women economic empowerment is crucial.
For example, when it comes to figures related to employment Albania is making some positive progress especially in women labour participation and in the number of enterprises run by women. However, there are still some challenges:
In spite of the increase during 2017 (up to 57.7%) women are still less likely to participate in the labour market. The ratio remains lower compared to men (75.8%).
Gender pay gap increased to 10.5% for 2017 compared to 6.3% in 2016.
In terms of normative legal framework for Gender equality, Albania has made progress. More needs to be done instead on strengthening the implementation of such legislation and have a fully fledged and functioning mechanism for gender equality, in particular at local level.
Another positive development is the 7 municipalities who have signed up the European Charter for Equality of women and men in the local life. Tirana, Elbasan, Durres, Korca and Shkodra have also established local plans on gender equality.
I am informed about the initiative of Mayor Balilaj called the ‘Friday of Women”, an initiative well known for bringing women together in the city of Patos and discuss different topics, share views and get them engaged on issues that are der to the community. This is a concrete example showing that, if there is political will and clear commitment, ways can be found to reach out to women and girls, listen to them, discuss with them and find joint solutions.
Recently the Government of Albania undertook some positive improvements also in the Law on measures against violence in family relations and adopted the Plan of Action for the implementation of the UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
The agenda on women, peace and security is a powerful tool for moving from gender inequalities to gender justice, from violence to sustaining peace and building stable communities. Security is not just about defense, nor is it just about short-term actions. It must involve long-term actions to deal with root causes – from poverty and injustice to violation of human rights and inadequate responses of responsible institutions.
In this context the importance for engagement of the communities in working closely with the police to solve problems of crime, domestic violence, other safety issues and to improve the quality of life for everyone cannot be overstated. The quality of the relationship between community groups and local police is often the determining factor in whether a survivor of domestic violence reports violence and receives adequate treatment, whether the perpetrator is apprehended, investigated and prosecuted and whether effective action is taken locally to prevent future incidents of violence.
The deployment of a community police force or use of community policing methods can increase trust and the effectiveness of police, including in the prevention and response to violence against women.
Community policing is based on the premise that no one organization can solve local security problems, which require partnership, collaboration and joint problem-solving between the police, the communities they serve, and others. Potential partners for community-based policing might include other government agencies, community members/groups, traditional and community leaders, non-governmental/ community-based service providers, local media, as well as private businesses.
Yesterday (on 25th of November) we recall the international day against violence on women but I like to stress more the start, at the same time, of the annual campaign - 16 days of activism, dedicated to the movement on fighting this deplorable and often criminal phenomenon.
The message of the campaign for this year is "Hear Me Too". I want to echo this message today as we are here to listen to you all and discuss how we can all be active on this cause.
I firmly believe that Albania’s future is within the European Union. Gender equality and the involvement of local communities are strategic elements for this country on its European journey! You all have a positive role to play!