President Jahjaga’s speech at the event launch of the Women Entrepreneurs Day (WED)

I am glad that we got together again to mark the global day of women entrepreneurs, and bring this event to the beautiful city of Gjakova, which once used to be the industrial capital of Kosovo and had a high rate of employment of women.

Honourable Mrs. Kusari Lila,
Honourable Mrs. Kusari Purrini,
Honourable Ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic missions in Kosovo,
Honourable Mr. Gnocchi,
Honourable Director of the UNDP Kosovo, Mr. Russell,
Honourable Excellency Zaharia,
Honourable business representatives,
Honourable participants,

I am glad that we got together again to mark the global day of women entrepreneurs, and bring this event to the beautiful city of Gjakova, which once used to be the industrial capital of Kosovo and had a high rate of employment of women.

This international initiative which is dedicated to the importance of women entrepreneurs in general economic development, for the second year running brings to attention the need for the increase of institutional and social awareness, in every country of the world, of the unequal situation in which women find themselves and the need to undertake concrete steps to change it.

Of course that necessity of gender policies stems from general human rights principles, which are an integral part of the Constitution and the laws of our country, through which we guarantee to both men and women equal rights and obligations.

But, as we talk about economic empowerment of women, it is the economic indicators which prove to us in very clear terms that societies which follow policies which guarantee greater participation of women in every walk of life, and more specifically in the economy sector, are societies which enjoy greater degree of wellbeing and a more sustainable economic development.

I believe that it would be considered smart for us as well to follow the examples of such societies, as we share the same ambition, building of policies which guarantee wellbeing, access to a more dignified life and above aall, a country with a developed economy.

In our society, in Kosovo, women are facing a multitude of barriers, which often prevent them to actively participate in economy sector.

Barriers which are related to access to property, financial and economic resources or even to professional education, which hamper the realization of initiatives which women might undertake to open a business, to expand an existing one or to formalize it.

Problems of this nature have followed us for many years, and they reflect the low number of women entrepreneurs, the low number of businesses registered by women as well as on hesitation of young girls to undertake initiatives in economy sector.

These consequences are felt by all of us, as a right denied to a woman is a right denied to the whole society.

For this very reason, events such as this one today, are extremely important in order to bring to surface all the problems with which women are faced, to discuss the already undertaken initiatives and to address these barriers, but above all, to identify the necessary policies which must be undertaken by both public and private sector, in order to guarantee the access of women to the economy sector.

Honourable participants,

In Kosovo we do have many successful women entrepreneurs, which have reached the pinnacles of the sectors in which they operate. A number of these women, through the support which I personally, together with Mayor Kusari-Lila, Minister of Trade and Industry at the time, have established an organization to pave the way for many other organizations, women of the G7, Kosovo Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

We have powerful women in civil society, as Mrs., Mirlinda Kusari Purrini, who through her organization Sheera, and the wide network which she built, has offered much needed economic opportunities for many women all around the country.

There are also women who have built their businesses upon the ruins of the war to ensure the survival of their families, as are the women of Krusha, who by now have succeeded in breaking down the barriers and manage to export their produce abroad and thus to offer their children a dignified life.

It is the very examples of these women and of many other women which should inspire us and push us to undertake necessary steps to advance the role which women and girls play in economy as important agents of guaranteeing of our general wellbeing.

We have started to advance the rhetoric with which we treat the economic empowerment of women. And it is true; we still continue to talk about the importance of economic empowerment of women to the general wellbeing of the society and to the economic development of the country.

But we have also started to talk about the concrete steps which allow for economic empowerment of women. This year was a good year, with many initiatives which have addressed women’s access to property.

Initiatives such as “For Our Own Good”, which through my support, support of USAID and many other partners, raises the importance of the registration of the joint property on women’s name as well and access of women to inheritance.

Initiatives undertaken by the institutions of the country together with non-governmental organizations and various donors, in strengthening of the role of women in agriculture and entrepreneurship. Initiatives  of the banking sector to offer access to financial resources and professional advice, or even initiatives to guarantee as wide as possible participation of young girls in the sectors of technology, innovation, tourism, business and so on.

By all means must all these initiatives and these policies be welcomed, and we must consider them as initial steps towards building of policies of close institutional and social cooperation, which substantiate the multitude of existing barriers, which continue to keep at a distance these women and girls from active participation in economy, and finding of common solutions to overcoming them.

I congratulate once again Mirlinda and other partners which have supported today’s event, and I leave you with the message that through economic empowerment of women we empower the whole society, we empower our state. You have a friend in me, a powerful ally, and I have never ceased to work, and have never compromised in fill realization of our rights, equal right, not only engrained in the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, but for their implementation in our daily lives, as only economic empowerment of women guarantees a viability of our state.

I wish you many successes.