“Let’s celebrate and inspire inclusion!” EULEX marks the International Women’s Day 2024

08 March

To mark the International Women’s Day, on 8 March 2024, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), in partnership with the NGO Assist Kosovo, organized an outreach event for students, teachers and professors from the AAB College, the technical school “Nexhmedin Nixha” in Gjakovë/Đakovica and the elementary school “Atë Shtjefen Gjeqovi School” in Klinë/Klina.  

The event was centered around the panel discussion “Let’s celebrate and inspire inclusion,” which focused on the importance of promoting inclusion of women and girls in all professional and social spheres of life, as a pivotal element to achieve gender equality and build prosperous societies.

“Each one of us has a crucial role and responsibility in fostering inclusion, because without it we cannot claim to live in fully functional societies,” recalled the EULEX Head of Mission, Giovanni Pietro Barbano, opening the event, adding how: “Ensuring women’s and girls’ access to decent work is vital for human welfare, and education is the cornerstone.”

“This is why the active engagement of all of you, girls and boys, as active school and community leaders, that we see not only here today, but also in the past activities, where we had the pleasure to work together with you, is the only true path to building an inclusive society effectively free from gender inequality and gender-based violence,” Barbano said addressing the students.

During the panel discussion, the EULEX Deputy Head of Mission, Emily Rakhorst, the General Director of the Kosovo Correctional Service, Ismail Dibrani, the Judge of the Kosovo Commercial Court, Vlora Pacolli Rexhepi, the Kosovo Police’s Spokesperson, Baki Kelani and the Kosovo Police’s Lieutenant Colonel, Zylfije Dema, shared their personal and professional experiences about women’s participation and empowerment, while emphasizing how important it is to respect and encourage diversity at work, home and within communities in order to push forward inclusion on all levels and as such alleviate gender inequality.

The event was also enriched by an exchange of views on the status of inclusive education within the Kosovo education system in a panel moderated by the education expert from AAB College, Xhavit Rexhaj with the Director of school “At-Shtjefen Gjeqovi”, Besarta Nrecaj, the  Director of school “Nexhmedin Nixha”, Florentina Gjergjaj, and the professor in AAB college. Mimoza Shahini.

The discussion was followed by an inspiring presentation of students’ artworks portraying powerful messages of how women’s role is seen and how it should be seen in our societies, focusing on the negative impact of gender-based violence and of gender stereotypes in hampering women participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Ahead of the International Women’s Day, EULEX also joined an event hosted by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) with the theme “Investing in Women: Accelerating Progress”, aiming at showcasing how to invest in women - and in their future - is the only pathway to greater equality and prosperity for all.

In her keynote speech, the EULEX Gender Advisor, Chiara Tagliani, emphasized that: “Women represent the majority of those living in poverty, with access to fewer resources, and therefore less status, less power and less influence in society. This deprives them of their fundamental human right to live with dignity and free from fear and violence. That’s why investing in advancing women’s rights and equal access to opportunities is so fundamental, starting from education.”

As part of the event, the Mission also joined a tree-planting activity with gender champions, during which the EULEX Head, Giovanni Pietro Barbano planted a tree named “Hope,” as a symbol of a hopeful future to inspire inclusion.