The second Global Woman Summit was held in early June, in Tirana, Albania, during their election period. As anyone who goes there discovers, Albania is a beautiful country with a wonderful climate and hospitable, friendly people. It has spectacular scenery and stunning coastlines, which are still a mostly undiscovered haven by tourists outside of Albania and its neighbour Kosovo. Yet it has an unkind history that was a harsh communist country until 1990.
Today it is a young, modern democracy still finding its feet but the last elections passed off peacefully, a sign of progress. Albania is a country undertaking many reforms as it aims to become a member of the EU. It is still regarded as an outsider and not European by many who know little about the country but when you visit there today it looks and feels quite European, and is geographically very much part of Europe. Rich in minerals but not rich financially, change is needed both politically and culturally for the country to realise the fruits of its assets and more challenging is to bring about a change from the patriarchal attitudes that are still prevalent in attitudes, in the home and the schools in the way that children are educated.
That is why Global Woman founder, Mirela Sula, who has born and spent much of her life there before moving to London, decided that it was the right place to hold the Global Woman Summit. By bringing together women of Albania and Kosovo with an international audience of speakers and delegates, with women politicians of different parties and views, that this would be an occasion to encourage the shift needed internally and with help from empowered women and enlightened men of other countries, from Europe, the US and Canada.
The summit brought together these international speakers and internal politicians, opening up a new door for the outsiders to view this country, in particular the capital, Tirana, from a completely different perspective. Albania has 22.9% women in the parliament, and 50% in the government cabinet, signifying the intention of women playing a more significant role in the shaping of Albania in the future.