Speech of the President Jahjaga at the “Small Business Days 2013” and Award presentation to successful female entrepreneurs

I have the pleasure to address the women who are determined to challenge the traditional or cultural perceptions related to the role of women in society and who are determined never to stop facing the challenges in order to achieve their aims, ideals and their just role in the development of the country and to take exercise their deserved position in their society.

Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Kusari-Lila,
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Kuçi,
Honourable Ambassador Jacobson,
Honourable G7 Members,
Honourable female entrepreneurs,
Honourable participants;

I have the pleasure to address the women who are determined to challenge the traditional or cultural perceptions related to the role of women in society and who are determined never to stop facing the challenges in order to achieve their aims, ideals and their just role in the development of the country and to take exercise their deserved position in their society.

Before I share with you some of my thoughts on economic empowerment of women and the importance of their inclusiveness in the development of the country, please allow me to digress a little and to say a few words on a very delicate issue which is affecting the dignity of a section of our society in these last few days.

We have all been witness to the physical attack on the activist and Member of Parliament, Ms. Nazlije Bala, who provided a voice to women who have been victims of rape. This cowardly act against Ms. Balaj is an intolerable and unacceptable act, which will not remain unpunished. I request again that security mechanisms apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to face justice.

Let us be clear, there is no single force or individual in Kosovo who can threaten the life of another, who can exercise physical violence on another individual who in this case is protecting with such a strong will a part of our society which is in such a need of our unreserved support, and remain unpunished.

We as a society must fight for the realization of the rights of each citizen.
       
Thus, I appeal to everyone- Members of Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo,
all relevant Parliamentary Committees, Governmental mechanisms, representatives of Civil Society and groups of interest- to jointly concentrate  in finding and determine a most suitable form in which we can provide our help and support as institutions and as a society to the victims of war time sexual violence.

There are no easy answers to difficult questions; but this cannot be a reason for us to avoid ourselves from our responsibilities and care towards this category of victims. I will not allow the raped women to be victimized again and become further stigmatized by our negligence, our personal conviction, political disagreements or hesitation, which has dominated our political sphere in the last few days.

In this discussing there is no us and them, it is all us and we are one.

We will remain dedicated to the principle to build a society in which every citizen has equal access to services required for a life in dignity.

We owe this to these women and we need to recognize their sufferings and not turn our backs to them, we must not leave them to suffer in silence. They need our support and we will not disappoint them.

Dear friends,

I am pleased to be amongst the successful female entrepreneurs of Kosovo. I am convinced that you are inspiring and inciting large number of women and girls who may currently be hesitating to participate in business as they might see it as an exclusively male destination.

In all the discussions in which I have participated, both here and abroad, conclusions have been reached on the fact that economic empowerment of women influences the financial independence of women, on offering a better future to the children, to improving the wellbeing of the family and economic development of the country and society and decrease of the negative phenomena.

Women not only represent the mere 50 % of the population, but also the 50% of the available potential and human talent. At the moment when women are not included in each field of development of a country, whether economic, political or social decision making, they will remain an unutilized source of human capital of a country.

Research clearly shows that women are becoming the largest consumer market, as women are becoming those who are taking the decision on domestic purchases, regardless of the fact whether they are employed or not. Women spend differently and have different preferences from men. Therefore, in order to capture women’s purchasing power, companies are ever more trying to understand women as consumers by making them active partners.

During the World economic Forum held in January this year, IMF Director Christine Lagarde spoke about the importance of active participation of women in economy. She presented very interesting data on financial gains achieved by full participation of women in workforce. By mere increase of employment of women to the level of men, United States of America would see a rise of GDP for 5 %, Japan 9%, India 27% and Egypt an increase of 34%.

As the former US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton said, “economic empowerment of women means smart economy”.

Participation of women in economic life of a country brings with itself the necessary diversity required for the generation of new ideas, for the future economic growth, for innovations and increase in competitiveness, both for the companies and the state.

In our country, small businesses have become a source of economic growth and employment generation, influencing not only the growth of the wellbeing of the women but also that of the family, society and the country as a whole.

I am convinced that many of you present here today have been faced with the challenge of securing the capital required for the initiation of your business venture. This is true for many other women who are not able to run their own business as they have limited access to financial sources and limited opportunity to obtain credit loans.

One of the reasons of the existence of this reality comes since, even though the inheritance law clearly defines the equality in division of the inherited wealth between a male and a female inheritor, not discriminating on basis of gender, it is the women that willingly give up their right, give up their inheritance.

It is this lack of ownership of the property, land or other real estate, which becomes a problem when women want to join the business community, as they lack the collateral to be able to have access to credit loans.

According to statistics, on national level, women in Kosovo are owners of only 8% of real estate, and are owners of only 6% of businesses.

These figures are very distressing and alarming which call for immediate action. Since economic security is personal security and human security.

To the considerable number of organizations which promote the participation of women in business, after the International Women’s Summit, another body is added to this size, the Economic Chamber of Kosovar Women, G7, in which you  will find a serious partner which will assist women by means of training provision, access to necessary capital, lobbying and networking, in order to make your business more successful or start up a new business easier, so that women might contribute in a more active manner to the economic development of our country.

I congratulate the Deputy Prime Minister Kusari- Lila, who initiates the small business days this year, by presenting the awards to the most successful businesses led by women. It is of utmost importance that we promote the successes of women achieved in every field of development of our society and state, in order to change the perceptions, to raise the awareness for the economic, political and social value that utilization of their potential brings as equal part of our society.

I wish you all many more successes to come by offering my full support for your work and engagement.