Kosovo youth discuss the future of gender equality and digitalization on International Women’s Day
28 young women and girls and 2 boys from five municipalities across Kosovo1 travelled to the capital Pristina to participate in a discussion with the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, about ways to build a gender-equal digital future and the use digitalization to promote gender equality and reduce gender gaps.
Organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2023, the event was hosted by UN Women Kosovo, together with local partners IPKO Foundation and Women in Tech, under the global theme "DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality".
In her keynote speech, President Osmani called for action and commitment of institutions, schools, universities, civil society organizations, the media, and the private sector to promote opportunities for girls and women in the STEM sectors: “This is the wisest thing, this is the right approach, because it is already confirmed that by 2050, 75% of jobs globally will be mainly related to these fields,” she said.
The President’s inspiring speech was followed by an interactive session of questions and answers presenting a unique opportunity for young participants to directly talk to the President and discuss important issues such as factors that impact career selection. She also advised the participants to always believe in themselves and support one another.
Vlora Tuzi Nushi, Head of Office at UN Women Kosovo, stated that now is the moment to make all dynamic digitalization processes inclusive by leaving no one behind: “Technology reflects its creators. So when women and girls are left out of tech and innovation spaces, it’s no surprise that digital tools fail to meet their needs.”
Speaking at the event, UN Development Coordinator, Arnhild Spence, emphasised that women and girls need to be included in the technology industry to ensure a gender-equal future. She stressed the need for a consistent approach to offering more opportunities to girls and women.
During the "Tech Talks" session, the participants had the chance to hear from Teuta Sahatqija, Women in Tech Kosovo Ambassador, and Hana Qerimi, Digital School/StarLabs co-founder. Both women shared their inspirational stories and how they overcame challenges to succeed in the technology industry. The participants were also engaged in an interactive quiz that focused on women pioneers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), helping to inspire them to pursue careers in technology.
At the event, high school student Elda Ajvazi was awarded a one-year scholarship from Digital School, for her curiosity, the courage to speak up, and the inspiration she showed during the event. “During her speech, Hana Qerimi, CEO of Digital School, asked for someone from the participants to join her on the stage. I raised my hand first and then she announced that I’ve won a scholarship. I felt extraordinarily excited. This opportunity will serve my future for the best,” said Ajvazi.
The celebration of International Women's Day 2023 highlighted the need for a gender sensitive approach to digital transformation, as a vital element to support and encourage girls and women to pursue careers in technology by providing them with opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge, and confidence.
1 All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).