Remarks of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, MadamAtifeteJahjaga, at the launch of the Kosovo Women’s Chamber of Commerce

It was only two months ago that we organized in Prishtina the first International Women’s Summit “Partnership for Change: Empowering Women”, that gathered around 200 women from all over the world and from Kosovo.

It was only two months ago that we organized in Prishtina the first International Women’s Summit “Partnership for Change: Empowering Women”, that gathered around 200 women from all over the world and from Kosovo. During the three days of the summit, we discussed the participation of women in all fields as a factor that consolidates democracy, increases the general wellbeing of the society and contributes in the economic development of the country.

On the subjects that we discussed with the representatives of the institutions, academia, civil society and the business sector, we shared the best experiences and the concrete measures undertaken in our societies in each relevant field. We highlighted the progress achieved in the advancement of the role of women; we identified the remaining challenges and the best ways in tackling the remaining barriers which are keeping hostage the general advancement of women, to create the conditions in order for women to gain their deserved position in the society.

With great pride we can state that the advancement which Kosovo has achieved at this phase in promoting women in the political life has served as a good practice which has delivered tangible results. Even though quotas as a way of representation - or to put it mildly a positive discrimination – for someone can be debatable, nevertheless in our society, quota has guaranteed the representation of women in the public life of Kosovo. At a time when the woman in Kosovo is not economically empowered, isnot treated equally in property division and does not have enough security, the representation based on quotas in the institutions of Kosovo is a way to ensure her equality.

We need to further consolidate the success of the central level by promoting the representation of women even at the local level. At the same time, as the President of the country, I am considering the possibilities of cooperation with local institutions and international initiatives to create the mechanism to increase the capacity of women and increase their representation up to 50% by the year 2050. I am also confident that after the future local elections, at the municipal level, at all the municipalities of Kosovo, one of the deputy mayors will be a woman.

In all issues raised during the discussions at the Women’s Summit, the issues of political, legal or social representation, economic empowerment was depicted as the essential contributor to the general advancement of women in every field, with effects transcending beyond the achievement of financial wellbeing of the women.

Investment in the economic empowerment of women, creation and offering of opportunities for a wider participation of women in the economic sector, raises the level of education of children, increases the wellbeing of the families, augments the wellbeing of the society in general, and contributes in the decrease of negative phenomena. Hence, the investment in the economic empowerment of women is not just investment in an individual but it is also an investment in the whole society and investment inour sustainability as a country.

Women in Kosovo currently own only 8 per cent of the immovable property and are owners of only 6 percent of the businesses. These figures clearly show the need to undertake concrete steps in order to prevent the marginalization of the half of our society.

Thus, intentionally, the concrete initiative that resulted from the International Women’s Summit and Prishtina Principles was to tackle this challenge. The creation of a group of women in business in Kosovo who undertook the mandate to determine the best format to provide assistance to Kosovo women in the economic sector.

While the overall participation of women in the economy sector is still very low, there are women who have made it and have overcome the challenges and are now leaders of businesses, some of them at the top of the most successful businesses in the country. For this reason, in cooperation with the Minister for Trade and Industry, Mrs. Mimoza Kusari-Lila and the Director of USAID Kosovo, Ms. Maureen Shauket, we asked these successful women to become leaders of positive changes in the field of economy.

I congratulate these seven women, the G7, who, from the initial moment have shown their readiness to move this idea ahead and to turn this initiative into reality. And tonight, through their dedication, we are inaugurating the launching of the Kosovo Women’s Chamber of Commerce, which will offer new opportunities to all women, whether they already are part of the business sector or they aspire to become part of, and provide the help they lacked until now.

Honourable participants,

I want to remind you the reason for this commitment and political will to make efforts in order to achieve tangible results. I would like to do this byreferring to the American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who at one occasion declared that she feels “ the deep sorrow when traveling around different countries of the world and I am expected by statesmen only because I am the American Secretary of State ignoring the fact that I am a woman”. And the fact that we are women does not make us weaker or more submissive. Our voice should be strong because we are mothers, because we are the backbone of the family and because we have demonstrated our ability to restore our society and to re-establish our values and ideals in these difficult years of transition.

The same applies to all categories in this society. During the last days we have been witnesses of an ugly event which has breached the constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens.  In the society which we are building there is no place for discrimination on any ground and we should not compromise this principle. Everyone should enjoy equal rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation.

As institutions and as a society, we must consider how our decisions today affect the building of our country in service of each citizen by creating and offering opportunities and conditions where each one could fulfil one’s own potential.

As Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America once said:“we must take the opportunity to bring the necessary change so that nobody fights this fight again”.

I would like to turn to you women entrepreneurs from different municipalities of Kosovo.

You are the very best examples not only for building and strengthening your families, in the municipalities and communities where you live but also bridges of cooperation in Kosovo for the better good of our whole society and for a better future for new generations. This initiative is also for you and I encourage you to contribute with ideas and requests as this is the only way how we can bring wellbeing to our families.

I wishsuccess to G7, and express the dedication and support of the institution I head for the Kosovo Women’s Chamber of Commerceand all other initiatives that aim towards building of a State in the service of its citizens.

Thank you! And I wish you success!