President Osmani’s address on the International Women's Day, themed “Let go of prejudices, work for inclusion”

Dearly beloved women and girls,
Honourable Prime Minister Kurti,
Distinguished Ambassadors and Ambassadors,
Honourable former President Jahjaga,
Dear Members of Parliament,
Deputy Prime Minister Gërvalla, Deputy Prime Minister Redzepi,
Ministers who are present today, and all of you honourable participants
Ms. Gusia thank you very much for the organization and for the invitation,

I would love to start this occasion word with a toast and saying happy March 8th.

But, in fact, I am starting with some heartfelt good wishes for the coming year and a collective invitation to act:

I wish that in the next 365 days, the words woman and girl continue to be synonymous with triumph, success, winning and inspiration – as were many girls and women in the year we are leaving behind.
I hope that throughout the coming year, the economic empowerment of girls and women will serve as the axis around which the economic development programs and policies are conceived and conceived.
I wish that in the days and months to come, our girls and women will enjoy the respect they deserve, the dignified treatment, and the incessant support.

I wish that in the coming year, our girls and women feel safe at home, on the streets, in the neighbourhood and in every public space.

I wish equal access for girls and women to education, justice, economics, policy-making, key decision-making processes, inheritance and every other sphere of life.
I finally wish for equality between 'him' and 'her'. The more this goal is attained, the better it will be for all of us as well as for our country and society.

Dear participants,

The celebration of International Women's Day this year, not only in Kosovo but around the world, coincides with a time when we are facing major challenges, including an increased number of cases of domestic violence, evident cases of gender-based discrimination, social inequality, violence and labelling on electronic platforms and social networks as well as high unemployment among women and girls.

The genesis of these problems is not in the days and months we are leaving behind. Rather, they are a clear reflection of inequalities inherited from generation to generation.

But, it is already clear that gender equality and women's rights are fundamental and are a prerequisite for addressing all the challenges I mentioned. We can achieve prosperity, security and stability only when we promote, protect and guarantee the rights of women and girls.

For decades women have called for equality. For decades women have been repeating that “the time has come” – the time for equality, for the opportunity, for representation; the time to end violence, the time for access to justice, for equal opportunities in inheritance.

Therefore, we must all unite – women and girls, men and boys, young and old – to breathe life to gender equality at home, on the streets, in the workplace, in institutions, in the community and everywhere else.

We all know that laws in principle sound good and have somewhat satisfactory content. But from words to deeds, the gap continues to be deep. And this is our common challenge, both of the institutions and of society in general. This remains our priority commitment and our daily commitment. This was the reason why we dedicated one of the 3 important components in the framework of the commitments at the Summit for Democracy in the USA exactly to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. I am very happy that we are working closely with many of you to fulfil these commitments.

We need mobilization and determination because we already have the dough ready. I remind you that last year, Kosovo with less than two million inhabitants returned home with two gold medals from the Olympic Games, by our two golden girls. Kosovo's name rose and triumphed high all over the world, from sports to cinematography, from music to art and science. The girls and women proved that they do brilliantly and whiten the face of our state.

But, dear participants, just as the successes have increased, the prejudices and stereotypes towards girls and women continue to breathe with a certain stubbornness.

Girls and women are easily categorized and labelled, before being heard and evaluated. Girls and women are attacked prior to being respected and treated with dignity. Girls and women are rejected, before the doors are opened, because there is always a reason, always an obstacle, always a doubt. For me and my colleagues here who are in politics, always what we wear is more important than what we do.

As long as women are seen only through a biological prism and constantly try to strip them of their social contribution, of their personality, of their professional identity – the problems and challenges will be constant and serious.

I often try not to fully disclose the many barriers I have faced throughout my professional and political journey, and I believe most of you women do this too. Because, in such a way, we sort of hope we will prevent the discouragement of many girls from walking the same steps. But, in the end, it matters little, because the journeys and challenges are individual. What matters is that we are here for every woman and girl, and that despite any obstacles, you will always have an arm to lean on and always an outstretched hand.

But, you will also encounter many words and prejudices; you will be faced with many labels from which most of the time your male colleagues will be spared, they will try to lower your morale and make you feel worthless, but every time I ask you to remember your grandmothers who challenged the prejudices, your mothers who challenged patriarchy, women who led the resistance to freedom and democracy, girls who rejected rejection and rejection by society, girls who challenged stereotypes, women who proved that no job is exclusively for men – remember and be inspired by the example of unmatched by our daily champions. They are the clearest evidence of how through the fight against prejudices and stereotypes, we step by step move towards guaranteeing inclusiveness.

Dear women and girls, I wish that International Women's Day is transformed year after year into a day where we celebrate achievements and make progress in the face of obstacles and challenges, which I am convinced will overcome together, but also together with champion men who understand that gender equality is in the best interest of our entire society and state. I wish that on this day we always enjoy individual achievements which will eventually be reflected in the improvement of our collective well-being.

Thank you!

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