Dear Mrs. Hoxha,
Distinguished participants from Kosovo and other countries of the world,
Welcome to all of you who are not from Kosovo!
I would first like to congratulate the Femart festival team for their work and commitment to turning this festival into an event of pride within the calendar of cultural events in our Kosovo.
Above all, I thank you that through art you have chosen to convey important messages to our society and that through this effort you have at the center of attention exactly the empowerment of women and girls.
It is an honour for me and for my entire Office to support you on this journey and I am sure that our cooperation will intensify more and more each day.
Today, on the occasion of the publication of the report “Gender and power relations”, which we analysed together with my staff, I want to tell you that in the fight against inequality, against the language of violence, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape, prejudices and injustices as a result of an imbalance in terms of power, you will always have us by your side.
Just as important was Tarana Burke's decision in 2006 via the hashtag MeToo to speak publicly about her sexual harassment, marking the beginning of a revolution in society's coping with this bitter phenomenon. It is important to meet in formats such as this one today to talk about similar cases and situations in each sector – and today, with a particular focus on the field of art.
Unfortunately, the abuse of power manifests itself in various shapes and forms. Sexual harassment and sexual abuse are among the frequent manifestations of power imbalance. Although the victim of such situations can be any woman, it is the poor conditions, job insecurity, financial instability, which affect the increase of exposure and increase the level of vulnerability to such situations.
This has been accurately evidenced in the findings of the report that will be presented shortly. This should therefore serve as an additional reason for us to understand that the empowerment of women and girls is not only the right thing to do in a society, but is also a prerequisite for maintaining dignity, increasing security, and creating opportunities and spaces necessary for the adequate practice of various professions.
Therefore, we need clear and precise discourse, we need to have clear definitions that serve as a starting point for our work and our commitment to change, and we need to not hesitate to speak openly about the things that concern us and just as much we need to use every available space and forum to talk to each other and with each other and to understand how we can help each other and lighten the burden for every woman as well as for every girl and woman in art, but also in any other profession.
Although I am a fan of art, I have chosen to dedicate my professional life to political engagement. As I believe you have had the opportunity to hear on numerous occasions, politics is one of the most difficult sectors for the professional survival of a girl or a woman. Politics which takes place in a dominant patriarchal environment is ruthless towards women. Strikes and attacks are daily, they are systematic, and they are diverse.
Both the language of violence and the phenomenon of sexual harassment, as well as dealing with situations that derive from the imbalance of power, are almost a daily occurrence for many girls and many women in this position. This as painful as it is, is also a daily opportunity for work and reflection.
For this reason, I always gladly accept to be part of such events as Femart, because I am clear that we need so much to learn from each other, to understand the challenges of our daily confrontations, to identify the source of such situations because only in this way, we manage to define the problem, to define the protocols of action in order to manage to strengthen the voices in the face of injustices, inequalities and lack of opportunities for women and girls.
But such discussions and initiatives as the MeToo movement are particularly important because they make us realize that no one is alone in dealing with them.
These discussions and initiatives are so important that, in addition to understanding that there are others who experience the same pain and injustice, it helps ease the burden that burns and burns in moments when you think you are alone.
It has always been difficult for us to speak openly about dealing with situations of sexual harassment, abuse, the language of violence and humiliation because there has always been a fear of prejudice.
Instead of feeling guilty about abusing or abusing the perpetrators, the victims actually felt guilty. This reality has many instances that continue. This is a reality that must change in every country and in every case, without exception. This is the reality that dominates the world. So it has to be fought everywhere, in every corner of the world. So, this is a reality that we must challenge and fight together.
As noted in the report, just as important as these initiatives and awareness campaigns are, so important is the collaboration with people in power within organizations or institutions. Because, in addition to the bottom-up approach, we ultimately need structural, substantive, and sustainable change, so if others do not have the opportunity to be part of the discussion and policy-making cycle, even in the theatre. , in an ensemble, in cultural associations or in some other place, commit to creating this space only for yourself. But having space just enough to express yourself is not enough – it takes constant courage, constant insistence, work systematic perseverance.
Such discussions, reports and roundtables will continue as long as we do not work collectively towards meeting the goal of gender equality. We understand that we have a lot of work to do, but we must be clear that every step that brings us closer to the reality of equality is one more opportunity to fight the mentality of aggression, sexual harassment, physical, verbal and psychological violence. Every step in this direction is one step closer to gender equality.
Our girls and women deserve a safe place at work, respect from all without distinction, gratitude for their work and contribution, appreciation of their efforts, equal opportunities for advancement, ensuring safety and a safe work environment – while actresses, dancers, ballerinas, curators, directors, playwrights, choreographers, singers, pianists, sopranos, painters and all our artists deserve all that I mentioned. Their art and work deserve it – art needs this to be successful and for the benefit of all of the society and all members of our society without distinction. Therefore, let us speak loudly today and work each day with full conviction and commitment for more equality, dignity, respect and empowerment both in art and in every area of â€‹â€‹our lives without distinction.