Hundreds of tomorrow’s leading women scientists attend event aimed at inspiring more girls to get involved in STEM


As the gender gap across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) persists around the world and in Kosovo[1] , more than 100 young women studying in STEM fields participated in a virtual event to mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Organized by the UN Women office in Kosovo, in cooperation with the Office of the Presidency and the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, the event delivered the message that today’s girls can become tomorrow’s leading scientists and innovators, shaping a fair and sustainable future for all.

President Osmani opened the event and encouraged the young women participants to believe in their abilities to transform their community and society. Photo: UN Women Kosovo
President Osmani opened the event and encouraged the young women participants to believe in their abilities to transform their community and society. Photo: UN Women Kosovo

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated all over the world, and in Kosovo it was marked through an event opened by President Vjosa Osmani. President Osmani encouraged young women and girls in science to believe in themselves and help shape a better future for everyone. "Do not hesitate to challenge yourself. Failure does not mean a failure in your endeavor, failure would be not taking the first step in your research, analytical, and innovation journey. You will be amazed by your ability to transform your inner circle, the community where you live, the society that surrounds you," she said.

Opening remarks were also delivered by the Minister of Education, Science and Technology (MESTI), Arbërie Nagavci. Emphasizing that 1,365 girls studying in STEM fields had benefited from MESTI scholarships, Nagavci pledged that support for these girls will continue because girls belong in science. “I guarantee you that as Minister of Education I will ensure that support is provided to advance women and girls in the field of natural and applied sciences, alongside better policies in this area,” Nagavci said. Several MESTI scholarship recipients were also among the event participants.

Meanwhile, Vlora Tuzi-Nushi, Head of the UN Women Office in Kosovo, said that much more work is needed if gender inequality in education and careers are to be eliminated. "Data shows that more girls than boys finish their education, but somewhere along the way they encounter barriers, which further entrenches gender inequalities. Last year, we launched the Generation Equality Forum, which seeks to mitigate existing gender inequalities," she said.

Furthermore, Ulrika Richardson, the United Nations Development Coordinator in Kosovo, said that science is not just about men, and that it is necessary to include women in the fields of STEM for science to respond to human needs.

The event also featured a panel on how: ‘The future belongs to women and girls in STEM’. The discussion involved women and girls in STEM. Panel participants are leading lights in their fields. They included Arijeta Pajaziti, the Director of the Women's Association in Energy; Ibadete Bytyci, Scientist of the Year 2021; Mimoza Basholli Salihu, Head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Medicine Analysis, Faculty of Medicine, University of Prishtina; and Rrezarta Pllana, Operational director in Cacttus.

[1] All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).