At an NDI workshop for politically active women in Tirana, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha pledged to support a proposed gender quota law that would result in significant increases to the number of women holding elective office.
In Albania, a country with one of the lowest levels of women’s political participation in Europe, the law would more than quadruple the number of women members of parliament, from the current 10 to a required 42.
The proposed law is part of the government’s current electoral-reform efforts and has the support of the leaders of Albania’s largest political parties. It would mandate that 30 percent of elective positions be filled by women by requiring parties to place women in one of every three positions on their electoral lists or through other mechanisms.
The proposal is likely to be addressed when parliament adopts a new electoral law in the next few months. Berisha, underscoring the importance of women’s political participation at all levels, said at NDI’s March 2 event that his Democratic Party will adopt a voluntary 30 percent quota system for women in decision-making positions.
With funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, NDI is helping women from Albania’s political parties and civil society to increase their engagement in politics. The Institute’s program consists of a series of monthly political skills-building workshops for a core group of 50 women who are now carrying out advocacy campaigns aimed at local governments.
The women are putting the skills to use on real issues, including the proposed gender quota law. Many of the women have begun training fellow party members and women from their communities who are interested in becoming more politically involved. Through these efforts, more than 200 individuals have learned how to become more involved in politics.
The NDI workshops, which have featured high-profile speakers such as Prime Minister Berisha and former Prime Minister Ilir Meta, have helped to shine a light on the sparse number of women involved in politics. NDI has also helped foster connections between the program participants and elected officials in their localities, as well as at the national level.
Pictured above: Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, center, speaking with participants at an NDI women’s advocacy workshop in Tirana
Published on May 6, 2008